4 Tips for First Time Home Buyers
Are you tired of paying rent and not having any options when it comes to improving your living space? If you’re considering delving into buying a home, take care to make a plan and work through the steps that you need to do to make your home purchase as stress-free as possible. While buying a new home is a really exciting endeavor, it is easy to get carried away and make some bad decisions that could haunt you for years to come.
STEP 1: FIGURE OUT WHAT YOUR PRICE RANGE IS.
The best way to discover your ideal price range is to talk either to your bank or to a mortgage broker about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Don’t confuse pre-approval with pre-qualification though, pre qualification is merely an estimate of how much money you could borrow, it’s no guarantee of funds. Once you’re serious about buying, pursue a pre-approved loan so that you know what you can afford. Many people find it very frustrating to start looking at homes, only to discover later that their expectations were completely out of line with their actual financial state.
STEP 2: FIND A BUYER’S AGENT
While you might be tempted to just pick an agent who’s left fliers on your doorstep or use the REALTOR® that your friend or parent used for their home sale, it is best for all involved if you do some research here. By all means, ask your friends and family for tips here; not only can they suggest agents who they’ve enjoyed working with, but they can also provide you with names of people they had poor experiences with as well. Once you have some names of possible buyer’s agents, make arrangements to meet them so that you can ask them some questions about their sales experience, communication style, and how they plan to help you find what you need. If you’re buying a specialty property type, make sure that the agent has experience with that. Otherwise, you might find that the great agent you picked knows nothing about buying a foreclosure or a waterfront home.
STEP 3: VISUALIZE YOUR NEEDS
Decide exactly what you need in a new home. This doesn’t mean that you have to know every specific thing that your new home should have, but it does mean that you need to decide which elements you absolutely can’t live without and which features would be nice but aren’t required. Are you planning on starting or adding on to your family in the next few years? New babies or elderly relatives staying in your home would have quite different requirements. Have you always dreamed about raising ducks and goats on your own little hobby farm? That too might require some pretty specific things. Ideally, unless you’re hoping to flip your new home within a year or two, you probably will want somewhere with enough space for the next 5+ years. Have a discussion with your buyer’s agent about what your needs are so that they know what to look out for on your behalf.
STEP 4: SEE WHAT’S AVAILABLE
The searching for a home is the part that most people enjoy about home buying. Your buyer’s agent should keep you up to date with homes they find that fit the bill, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t look too. Some buyers love to check out open houses in neighborhoods that they’re interested in, but that’s open an inefficient way to find a house that will fit your needs because you probably won’t know if it has the specific things that you need until you tour it. A better way to search for a home that fits your needs is to look online with the aid of a good search feature to let you specify exactly the features you need in a home. Let your agent know if you find anything that you’d like to look at in person, so they can communicate with the listing agent on your behalf.
Buying a first home can be an overwhelming experience, but if you are prepared for the process, you will find that it can be quite an enjoyable adventure!