Buying your first home this year? With interest rates as low as 4.35% now is a great time to be making a home purchase. Buying is certainly cheaper than renting a comparable house right now and you get the piece of mind know it is YOUR house. You are not paying someone else's mortgage and you are creating equity for yourself. Buying your first home can be confusing though and there are some things you need to be aware of before you begin. Here’s a short list of a few things a first-time home buyer should know;
1. Get pre-qualified for a mortgage at the beginning of your search. This should always be step 1 because it will let you know what your ceiling price is and your mortgage specialist will be able to tell you what your monthly payments will be for the price range you desire to be in. Being pre-qualified will also let sellers know they are not wasting their time accepting your offer to purchase their home, thereby strengthening your offer.
2. Get a REALTOR. On the buyer's side the fees for a Realtor are very minimal, you do not pay a commission but there is usually a small broker's service fee that is charged to you as a closing cost. For that you get someone who can (among other things); Search for homes that fit the exact criteria you want, show you the homes you are most interested in, find comps on a house you want to make an offer on, write the offer to purchase, negotiate an offer to purchase, coordinate with mortgage and title company to close the purchase of the home. Using a realtor for any home transaction is always a no-brainer, but especially for a buyer who is paying little-to-nothing for the experience and expertise you get to guide you through your home buying process.
3. Things to think of when you begin your search; What area of town do you want to live in? What price range are you looking for? If you have kids, what school system would you like them to be in? How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathrooms? What size of yard? Is it important to be a ranch or two-story?
4. Once you have done your search through your Realtor or online, pick the 4-6 best ones to go see in person. Your Realtor can set these up for you. Take notes about what you liked or disliked about each home to review later after you've seen all the homes that day. Also feel free to bring a camera or to take pictures with your phone to help you remember specifics of what you liked/disliked about the home.
5. Relax and enjoy the process of searching for a home, it should be a fun, enjoyable time, not stressful. When you find the right home you’ll know it. So if you’re not sure, keep looking. You’ll find the right one for you soon enough.