Jamuna Thill is a full-time, licensed Realtor and serves as president of the Collin County Area Realtors. The real estate agent association is a professional organization that provides real estate information in North Texas.

Thill works as an accredited buyer's representative with eXp Realty, and specializes in relocation, new construction and luxury homes. She recently spoke to Community Impact about what prospective homebuyers can expect when looking to buy a home.

Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

What can first-time homeowners expect when looking to buy a home?

They can expect a process. Whether you're a first-time buyer, you're upsizing, downsizing, [or] whether you're an investor, they need to expect a process. The process really determines how the whole transaction goes ... and [ensures homebuyers] consider all the key factors to make sure they make a well-informed decision at the end of the day. Buying a home is complicated, and the best thing you can do, before you even start the process, is to have someone help you navigate the process. There’s a reason Realtors are licensed and continue that education because there’s so much involved [in buying a home].

You need someone to help you identify the right property for you based on what you can qualify for, your budget, comfort level, the location [and] proximity to work or family. To have someone in your corner who can represent you and your best interests ... will help you get through that process a lot smoother.

What should homeowners look for in a new build?

You need to understand the build process, [such as] the time involved and the cost [compared to] having a home that is already built. When you’re going into a new neighborhood, you need to [ask] how big is that neighborhood going to be? What are the number of homes that are going to be in there? Does it have a [homeowners association]? What kind of deed restrictions would be there after you move in?

Asking questions to help you understand the community that you're going into [will] make you feel a lot less stressed.

A lot of people feel that since it’s a brand-new home, it’s already been inspected and the city has approved it. City approval, permits and inspections are different to what you would have a Realtor schedule for a third-party inspection. You want to get all of these things done before you close.

What should homeowners know about financing a home?

Financing is going to depend on a couple of things. Most loans are going to require a down payment. What kind of down payment [can you afford] because that is going to determine the type of loan that you qualify for. Do you have enough money for the additional closing costs? You need to figure out what you can afford.

What’s the most important thing a new homeowner should know when looking to buy a home?

Buying a home is such a big financial decision. It’s a future investment. This is a long-term hold for you. This is your home. You’re going to build equity. This is where you’re going to build memories.

You need to make sure that you understand that process because it can be overwhelming. Make sure that you prioritize what your needs are. Make a checklist, and make sure that you find a home that meets your comfort level. Make sure all your due diligence is done. At the end of the day, you want to make an informed decision.

Anything else someone should know before buying a home?

Buyers should rely on expertise, knowledge and guidance to help them navigate a complex and complicated process, be educated about the process from start to finish and long after, to fulfill their dream of home ownership.