What to Expect When You’re Expecting…to Buy Your First Home


This is a step-by-step look at the homebuying process, which is especially helpful when you’re looking to buy a house for the first time and may have questions or concerns about what seems to be a daunting life change. Well we’re here to tell you that when you’ve teamed up with the right realtor and Gagliano Mortgage Inc., there’s nothing to worry about because we’ll be right there the whole time. Your first experience with home loans can actually be enjoyable as you search the Birmingham, AL area for the place to call home!

So what comes first? If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering purchasing a house for the first time. That’s the first step. DO NOT go past this step without reaching out to us. You need a pre-approval letter before house hunting with a realtor. We’d even recommend a pre-approval before hopping on a website like Zillow, because you’ll need to know what you can afford. Once you’ve looked at your finances, considered a mortgage payment in your budgeting, and decided that you’re ready to become a homeowner, it’s time to dive right into the homebuying process. The steps will look something like this: 

  • Pre-approval and letter

Getting pre-approved for a home loan means you’ll know what your price range is based on the size of loan you’ll be able to get. Additionally, the seller will know that you’re serious because you’re already working with a mortgage company.  For more on pre-approvals, check out our blog post on why you should get pre-approved for a home loan. 

  • Find a realtor

You’ll want someone who knows the area well, who will keep your best interest at heart, and who will represent you well. We can help with this- check out Find a Realtor. We work with a network of realtors and can match you with one. It’s important to note that the realtor is generally paid from the seller’s side of the deal, so it isn’t usually much (if any) money out of your pocket.

  • House hunting

For most people, this is the fun part! You and your newly chosen realtor will get to tour several homes in hopes of finding one that matches most or all of your top criteria. Keep an open mind and know that you may have to compromise on a few minor things. Focus on your “must have” features. Your realtor should be able to walk you through all of this as you go. 

  • Make an offer

The seller will know you’re serious if you have a pre-approval letter showing that you can get a mortgage loan. Your realtor will be the one writing up the purchase offer and may include contingencies, like a home inspection contingency which will let you out of the contract should a major concern come up in the home inspection. There may be negotiations, but your realtor will walk you through all of this. 

  • Under Contract

If the seller accepts your offer, you will then be under contract. This is usually when we get the rest of the mortgage loan process going. We will do the “heavy lifting” with the paperwork, underwriting, and lending. You’ll provide us with the financial documentation and personal information we will need to get you qualified and secured. 

  • Appraisal and Home Inspection

During this process, a home inspection and appraisal will be completed on the home. If any issues (major or minor) are found during the home inspection, you can back out of the contract or ask the seller to make the repairs or even ask for them to lower the asking price. The appraisal will let you know how much the house is really worth based on several factors including the selling price of similar homes in the area. Negotiations may happen if the appraisal comes in higher or lower than the agreed on price. 

  • Closing Day

This day represents something very exciting- you’re becoming homeowners! The actual closing isn’t nearly as exciting since there’s a whole lot of paperwork to sign. You, your realtor, someone from our Gagliano Mortgage team, and the seller will all meet at the designated office (many times an attorney’s office) for the closing. We will collectively go over everything one more time and collect any remaining checks from both parties. Once everything is signed and handled, it’s time to get your brand new set of keys, take pictures, and celebrate!

  • Moving Day

This is another monumental day. It all becomes real as you move into your first home. Think of the memories to be made! Even though our work on this mortgage loan is essentially done at this point, that doesn’t mean our relationship is over. We’re still here whenever you have questions or concerns! 

When you’re ready to start searching for your first home in the Birmingham, AL area, give us a call at 205-979-4412 so we can get you pre-approved for one of our home loans. We can’t wait to help you become a homeowner for the very first time!

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