The time has come. You have a pre-approval letter in hand. Now what? The excitement is overbearing. You can hardly believe it. Finally, you can buy a home.
So many thoughts, so much overwhelm with so much excitement. Where to start, and what should you look for. It's always best to make a list of needs vs. wants. In doing so, this will keep you on track, so you don't overspend. Just because you qualify for a certain amount doesn't mean you have to spend that amount. The worst thing is to overspend and live for your home. Set a budget and stick to it.
What buyers should look for when buying their first home:
Time and thought needs to be put into finding the perfect REALTOR. Not all relationships are created equal, and you want to make sure your personalities fit. Your agent is there to work for you.
Visit Open Houses
Looking at a home online looks totally different in person. Visit as many open houses as you can in your area of choice.
Do you have an area in mind? Does your budget fit this area? If not, what is your second and third choice?
Style of Home
Are you looking for a single-family home with a yard, or would a townhome or condo suit your needs?
Are there HOA dues? Be sure to add this to your budget and what you can afford for a home.
Age of Home
Are you looking for new only or within a range? If older, do you have savings set aside for emergency repairs?
Yard and Yard Maintenance
Do you have a green thumb? Is a yard a priority? Are furry friends a part of your family, and this is a must? Will you be maintaining the yard yourself or hire this out?
Schools and School District
Is this a deciding factor? If so, check out the website for the school district to check on school ratings.
You will want to see if crime is a factor in this area. Drive the area at different times for a couple of weeks. What does the area look like in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
Is a walking trail important? Are parks a factor? What does the HOA provide for the area? Most times, in neighborhoods with an HOA, they offer park-like settings, walking trails, pool/beach areas.
How far is a grocery store? Convenience store? Pharmacy? Hospital? Restaurants?
Number of Bedrooms
How many bedrooms do you "need?"
Number of Bathrooms
How many do you "need?" How many would make life comfortable?
Do you work from home, and office space is at the top of your list?
Number of Garage Spaces
Can you live with one garage space? Is two a must? If you are moving to a townhome or condo, is there a garage? Carport? Is parking assigned or open parking? What about guest parking?
How Many Living Areas
How many living areas are needed? Make sure if you have two that they are positioned in the home appropriately. It isn't too great when one is above the primary bedroom, and your kids stay up a lot later than you.
How Many Dining Areas
Do you plan on having a home where everyone comes for the holidays? If so, two dining areas should be at the top of your list.
What are the features that are a must in your kitchen? If gas is a requirement, only certain areas offer gas. Double-oven? Built-in microwave? Cook-top?
Fireplace, No Fireplace
Is this a need or a want?
Take this guide, expand upon it.
Make your needs vs. want list before you tour any homes, and by doing so, your first time buying a home will be a breeze.
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