Purchasing your first home can be exciting and scary at the same time. In most cases, the reason buyers fear the process is because they have not been through it before. And for good reason! Buying a home is a huge deal with a lot of moving parts.
Let’s go over a few points to consider when purchasing your first home to make the process run smoother.
Before purchasing a home, consider your financial status and stability. Review your credit score and see where you can easily improve it. Check that your contact information on your report is correct, dispute any incorrect items, and put some payments towards your credit cards above 50% of your credit limit.
Start putting together a budget and understand what your monthly payments will be. Talk with your agent to make sure you include all the monthly expenses that come with homeownership.
- Hire the Right Agent.
Hire a buyer’s agent who is working only for you throughout the transaction. Many new buyers get confused and think that the seller’s listing agent represents them.
While the listing agent must be honest with you during the transaction, they do not work for you. They work for the seller. When looking for a buyer’s agent, get referrals from friends and family. Make sure the agent knows the area well where you are looking to purchase (like me!).
- Know What You Don’t Know
Since this is your first real estate transaction, there will be a lot that you won’t know. And you’re not supposed to!
Make a list of questions you have about the real estate process, what’s expected of you by the lender, any terms you heard and don’t know, or any other questions.
- Needs vs. Wants
When searching for homes, there is a big difference between needs and wants. When collecting details about potential properties that you may purchase, consider the different types of residences available, what you want from a potential home, and what you MUST have. For example, you may require four bedrooms to fit your family size comfortably. However, you may not necessarily need a pool in the backyard … even though that would be nice!
Any experienced agent will help you through this process.
As you are looking at homes or doing a walk-through, take notes on what you like and don’t like for each home.
- Be Patient.
Although it happens sometimes, do not set yourself up for disappointment by expecting to find a great home tomorrow if you’ve just begun your search today. Buying a house requires time. Be patient and allow your agent to do his/her job. Once you find a home that you want to purchase, do a final walk-through of the property before you and your agent begin negotiating. To increase your chance of having a successful home search, be well-informed and prepared.