Buying a new home is one of the most exciting decisions of your life—especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. With endless decorative decisions to make and countless open houses to attend, it’s important not to overcomplicate the simple and rewarding process of home buying. Here are five tips to ensure that your first home buying experience is amazingly easy and stress-free.
- 1. Prepare your finances: Many first time buyers think the search starts with the first open house. This is largely a misconception in the process! Savvy shoppers start to prep up to six months before they step foot on a property. The most important part is checking your credit score well in advance. This provides you with the opportunity to correct any financial issues and thus improve your final interest rate on your mortgage. It is an easy step, but if you have any questions about the best way to get it done, feel free to ask your mortgage lender for help. In addition, you can apply for pre-approval on your loan through your mortgage lender, giving you a leg up on other buyers and helping guide your search to homes within your price range. In the long run, this will save you a great deal of time and money.
- 2. Consider the additional expenses: Listing prices seem straightforward, and it's tough to resist judging the cost solely on the asking price. In addition to this number, you should consider the cost of insurance, utilities, and property upkeep. Your lender can estimate these costs for you upon pre-approval. By assessing these amounts, you will ensure that there are no costly surprises in the future.
- 3. Consider the future: It's easy to look at a property in the present and judge it based on those merits. Yet when buying, you need to think about the future as well. Key considerations will include: the direction of the neighborhood; the longevity of the structure; and the trends of the local market. Will the value of the house improve or decline in the long term? The answer to this question will weigh heavily on how the deal looks in hindsight. Your real estate agent can help guide you through these considerations.
- 4. Don’t rush the process: In the beginning of your house hunting process, you may find a property that looks and feels perfect. You’ll be tempted to end your search and buy the property right then and there, but don’t! There is no rush to this process. It’s important to look at a wide range of properties and neighborhoods before settling on the one. This will allow you to gage a better idea of what you value in a property and make the best selection possible. Your real estate agent can help you find new properties based on your shifting “wants” and “needs” for a house.
- 5. Work with professionals: With the growth of online home buying sites, many people are inclined to cut costs by not working with a realtor or mortgage lender. This is actually an expensive risk to take. Realtors and mortgage lenders know the markets like the back of their hands and are there. They will ensure you are getting the best value you can, while addressing your worries, no matter if they are mortgage concerns or questions about property value. Most buyers who attempt to work alone find themselves overwhelmed by the size of the task and end up signing a bad contract. A professional representative who has worked with first-time buyers before can communicate with you and help you understand the ins and outs of the deal, so you aren't blindsided by anything.