TikTok Real Estate Agent Shares The Important First 2 Steps In Buying A Home

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You’re going to do it. You’re going to buy a house. Just think — you’ll build equity, not just spend on rent. No more common areas, shared walls, or semi-public elevators. You’ll be able to decorate as you prefer, have a garden, or at least a backyard. Determination is a great thing — but what’s the first step? Looking at Zillow or local real estate listings and envisioning ownership will only get you so far. Since buying a house will probably take more money, time, and energy than any other single project in your life, it’s important to get it right, especially the first time.

Tennessee Realtor Caitlin Lucia took to TikTok to explain two very important steps to buying a house. We love Caitlin, her insight, and her advice, but unless you live in Tennessee, you probably need to find someone else to help you purchase a house, as real estate agents are local and licensed by their state. Before looking at listings, picking out furniture, or a moving company, Caitlin recommends finding an agent and getting pre-qualified for a mortgage to purchase your dream home. 

(Very quickly: Realtors are real estate agents active in the National Association of Realtors (NAR), an organization dedicated to professionalism, whose members adhere to a strict code of ethics. Many real estate agents are not part of NAR, yet they too adhere to all state laws and professional standards.)

Finding a good real estate agent

These are the two most important steps to prepare yourself for buying a home, and you can accomplish them in either order or simultaneously. Finding a real estate agent you want to work with takes a bit of time and initiative. Your agent is someone who takes the time to get to know you and your preferences. As Caitlin Lucia mentions, the most important factor is that your agent should be someone you trust. Examine how long the agent has been in the business and take a look at how many houses they’ve listed and sold. You can also look up the agent’s broker — this is the business that holds the agent’s license and is sometimes a large organization such as ReMax, Century 21, or Keller Williams. However, there are plenty of local, professional smaller brokers as well. 

Asking for referrals from friends and family is one way to find an agent. Alternatively, you may meet one at an open house. Then there’s your gut instinct. Give yourself the time to interview two to three agents before committing to working with a specific team or individual. Agents know that buyers shop around before committing. This is part of their business, and they understand your desire to find and work with the best agent for you.

Your superpower: pre-qualification

What your interest rate and payments will be is just a part of what you need to know about getting a mortgage. Look, rates go up and rates go down, and that is out of your control. What you can do is take steps to position yourself as a great mortgage candidate. Steps include investigating your credit score and improving it if needed. Figure out what portion of your budget you can dedicate to the mortgage (and the taxes, and homeowner’s insurance). Simultaneously you’ll be saving for a down payment. Many mortgage lenders offer a better rate to those who pay a bigger chunk of money upfront. Your payments may be lower, and you’ll pay less interest over the life of your loan.

While you’re sifting through information regarding a real estate agent, you’re also looking for a good mortgage rate. Sources include your bank, credit unions, and dedicated mortgage companies like Rocket Mortgage, Quicken Loans, or Lending Tree. If you have an agent at this point, they may have suggestions for you as well. As Caitlin mentions on TikTok, the goal is to get prequalified, meaning that a lender you’re working with has agreed to help you finance the house. With pre-qualification, the moment you tour the house you really want, you can easily slide to the next step, which is making an offer, without waiting for a lending institution.

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