First Time Home Buyers
7 Tips For Buying Your First Home
Are you tired of renting, but aren't sure if buying a home is in your future? Does your head spin when people start talking about mortgages, insurance, and closing costs? Don't worry; many of today's homeowners have been in exactly the same place as you.
Buying a new home, especially when it's your first, can seem like an overwhelming experience. Just knowing where to begin sometimes seems like a Herculean task. But, believe it or not, buying a home doesn't have to be all confusion and complexity. In fact, with just a little insight into the basics of home buying, you'll not only be clear on what you need to do, but you might just really enjoy the experience, too! To help you on your way toward first time homeownership, we've pulled together a list of the top 7 Steps for Buying Your First Home.
1. Are You Ready?
The first step in buying a new home doesn't involve realtors, properties, or even money. The first step involves only you. Before you ever look at that first property, you should begin by assessing whether you are truly ready to begin the process toward homeownership. When you ask yourself questions about your emotional, psychological, and financial preparedness, you are getting a "reality check." You either will see that now is a great time to get going on your dreams of new home, or you'll see that-because of credit history, market conditions, or the fact that you just don't feel ready to own yet-it might be a good idea to wait and reassess at a later date.
2. What Do You Want?
The second step in buying a home can actually be really fun. In this step, you get to decide what is important to you in your new home. This is your time to make decisions about those aspects of a home you really want (e.g., location, size, number of bedrooms). When you sit down and write down all of the elements you want to find in your new home, you'll begin to really see your home in your mind's eye. This will make your job (and that of your realtor) much easier as you begin to look for homes within your budget-making it much more likely that you'll end up with exactly the type of home you've always wanted.
3. Should You Use a Realtor?
First time home buyers can really benefit from the expertise of an experienced realtor. Because you will be traveling across a number of unknowns-from searching for properties, to securing loans, to making offers-a professional realtor can help to make your journey easy-to-understand and enjoyable. A qualified real estate agent will guide you along the path and help to simplify and make sense of much that could potentially confuse and discourage you. In addition, a professional will be able to help you get the most for your money and make sure you are asking the right kinds of questions of yourself so you stay on track.
4. What Can You Afford?
One of the biggest concerns of most first-time home buyers is "What can I afford?" Of course, what you can afford will depend upon a number of factors, not the least of which is how much money you earn. Additionally, you'll want to consider the cost of the house you are looking at and the types of mortgages you are considering. As a rule of thumb, brokers suggest that your monthly mortgage payments should be approximately 25 to 33 percent of your monthly gross income. In knowing this, you can calculate what you can reasonably afford. Your real estate agent and/or qualified loan officer will be instrumental in helping you to assess your financial situation and allowing you to see exactly what the costs associated with any home purchase would be. A loan officer can actually "pre-qualify" you for a loan-so you'll know exactly how much money you are eligible to borrow and what carrying that loan will cost you on a month by month basis.
5. How Do You Find the Best Mortgage Type?
Figuring out mortgages and applying for loans is perhaps the most daunting part of buying a new home. But, do you know what? It doesn't have to be. The Internet offers a wealth of wonderful information about mortgages. For example, to help you with all the jargon associated with lenders and mortgages, check out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Mortgage Glossary. However, the best way to make sure you're getting the best mortgage for your needs, you simply need to put your realtor and loan officer to work for you. These folks are experienced in making sure your mortgage fits you like a glove. Rely on their years of expertise and see how easy it can be to lock into the perfect mortgage for your needs.
6. How Do You Start Looking for a Home?
If you've done the initial footwork required-decided now is the time to buy, assessed your finances, secured a realtor, and have been pre-qualified for a loan-the fun can really get started. It's time to begin looking for that first home! How do you do it? There are a variety of ways available to you:
· Allow your realtor to do all the searching. Once you've given her your list of what you want, set her loose on the community and let her use her experience to find the perfect home(s) for you to view.
· Search online and print resources yourself. Just because you have a realtor, there's no reason why you can't look for yourself, too.
· Keep family and friends in the loop and have them notify you if they see (or hear of) any new properties on the market that fit your desires.
No matter how you do it, keep that list of what you want in your home handy at all times. There's a good chance that you may have to compromise on one or two items. Be sure to have a good idea of what things you can let go of and which things you must have no matter what. When you are committed to your needs, you might not find the house immediately, but you're sure not to end up in a house that disappoints you from the first day.
7. How Do You Actually Buy A Home Once You've Found It?
So, you've found your dream first-time home, now what do you do? That's a great question. If you're realtor has been involved all along, she will really shine at this point in your journey. Your realtor will be able to hold your hand and take you through the process of making an offer, what to do if your offer is accepted, and walking you through to the first day when you open that door to your new home.
Believe us, buying your first home is a major life accomplishment. As is the case with anything worth having, buying a home can come with its bumps and lumps. But, when you have a realtor working with you and you're committed to the idea of being a homeowner, you'll likely be surprised at just how easy and rewarding buying a home can be. Indeed, when you first feel the pride of ownership that comes with a new house, you'll quickly forget any of the stress as you begin imagining the future and how you will transform this house into your home.