Tips For First Time Home Buyers
There are some very important tips every first time home buyer should know before buying a home. As a real estate agent, I love working with first time home buyers. One, it gives me a chance to help educate them on the home buying process and hopefully help them make a wise financial investment. Two, I really enjoy watching and hearing the excitement when they find out they can actually buy a home and when they actually find the home they love. I love those moments! Certain tips for first time home buyers should not be skimmed over or skipped, this will cause frustration and resentment in the whole home buying process. As a first time home buyer, you should look back on the experience and have positive things to say, it can and should be a fun time.
My top 10 tips for first time home buyers are very important. This will help a buyer to understand the home buying process, if not, then you should ask questions and get answers before making one of the largest financial decisions in your life.
Find a top notch real estate agent that will work for you through the home buying process. This agent should be a full time realtor, not someone who does it part time, you want someone that is active in the daily market and up to date on things going on. This person is going to be on your side and help negotiate on your behalf to help you get the home you want. He or she will also take time to explain the process to you and let you know what to expect along the way. hey should go over your needs and wants (needs analyst), help recommend a good lender for pre-approval, work for you and not the seller and go over agency (seller’s agent, buyer’s agent and dual agent). A very important question to ask your real estate, do you work for me or the seller? They will also go over the out of pocket expenses you might occur throughout the home buying process. This agent will help educate you along the way. They will be your go to person for any and all real estate question before, during and after the closing. It’s always important to listen to your agent, they have been doing this for sometime and know the local market, it is their job and they are the expert. The majority of my clients, become lifelong friends after the closing.
Get Pre-Approved BEFORE you start looking at home. This way you will understand your buying power and not get your hopes up on a house that you can not afford. This will also help eliminate anything that might show up on your credit report or give you time to fix it, should something come up. Sometime you might find out that you need to build credit and the lender can give you tips on how to do that before they can be approve for a loan. Plus, it’s not fair to the seller, the real estate agent or yourself to be looking at home when you can not qualify for a loan. Your real estate agent can recommend some of their preferred lenders to help you with this process. It’s ok to talk to different lenders and compare apples to apples on fees, you want to make sure you are making the right financial decision.
Explore the different types of loans available today. Great question and topic for you and your lender to discuss. Ask about first time home buyer programs like U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (USDA Loans), VA loans, FHA Loans, Conventional Loans, NC Housing programs. Some of these loans might have programs to assist you as a first time home buyer, it’s always good to know your options. Plus it will let you know some of the expenses associated to purchase a home.
Make a list or checklist of your wants and needs. This can be more realistic once you know what you can afford. Somethings to think about while doing this list; drive time to work, stores, schools, hospitals and activities. What part of town would you prefer to be in? City vs county? One story home, two story home, fenced in yard, home owner associations, pools, double garage, large kitchen, garden tub, dual vanity in the master, bonus room, formal living, formal dining room or master bedroom downstairs? These are just a few things to think about. Remember to be realistic with your approved price range and what you can actually get in a home vs your wants. Sometime you have to give and take in the home buying process.
Attend first time home buyer seminars. Most of these are free and you can learn a lot of great information about the local market, tips on buying your first home, financing types and tips to help take care of your new home.
Know and try to understand the home buying process. You won’t be a pro after your first home, but you should have a better understanding about the process. Get copies of all the signed documents, know the important dates for inspections, Due Diligence period, any fees you will incur and the closing. Your agent should help you through this and provide you with what you need. If you don’t understand something or have questions make sure to ask them and make sure you get an answer. It may not be the answer you want to hear sometime, but you never know if you don’t ask.
Know and understand how much you can truly afford. Just because you got approved for a certain dollar amount does not mean you have to go to the max price. Remember, when you get approved, they do not take in consideration other living expenses like your gas, eating out, cell phone bill, cable, internet, utility bills and maintenance on your new home. You don't want to be in an expensive home and not be able to enjoy it, that would be very sad. I always recommend to my first time home buyers, lets start on the low end and work yourself up gradually, this is if we don’t find anything you're happy with in the lower price ranges.
Get a home inspection! This is money well spent up front and can save you the headaches down the road. You will have a better understanding on what’s going on with the home before you buy it. Plus it gives the seller a chance to fix these items before you buy it. You will feel more confident in your financial decision after you've had one done. Always use a recommended home inspector and not the person you found online that can do it the cheapest...sometime you get what you pay for. Your agent will have a few good recommendations for you.
Be realistic when looking at homes. What I mean by that is, don’t look at 20-30 homes just to look at homes. If you know what your needs and wants are, then you and your agent should be able to narrow the list of homes down to 5-10 homes max. If you don’t find the home you want to write an offer on within that list of homes, then you and your agent need to sit back down and look over your wants and needs again to see what changed. Yes, there will always be more homes coming on the market and you might miss something, but you might also miss the home you really like because you are chasing the market. Also, listen to your agent, they know the local market and just because your relative or friend got a house for $30,000 less than the asking price where they live, it has nothing to do with the local market in and around Fayetteville, NC. Your agent can help you with your offer and give you advice on the negotiation of terms.
10. Stick to your budget! There is a reason we all have a budget and you
should not sway from that during this process. It is very important to
be firm with yourselves before starting to look at homes. Your first
home might not be your dream home, but a home you really love.
Let that dream home be down the road after you have established
yourself more. Just my unsolicited advice.
If you want to talk about any of these tips for first time home buyers or considering buying your first home, I would love the opportunity to sit down with you or have a conversation over the phone. I specialize in working with first time home buyer’s and that is one of my passions as a full time Realtor, let me help you become a homeowner. Call 910-583-3817, email or visit my website to start viewing homes.