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Buying a home for the first time can be both exciting and intimidating at the same time. Owning a home has many advantages but not without significant responsibilities which is why first-time homebuyers are encouraged to take their time in making an informed decision. From ensuring you’re financially stable to selecting the right home, there’s a lot that needs to be done to purchase the home of your dreams.
Below is some advice
Be Sure You’re Ready
Not to scare you off but homeownership isn’t for the faint of heart. You will not only be responsible for making mortgage, insurance, and tax payments on the property, but you’re also liable for the upkeep and maintenance of your investment. Once you sign the legally binding contract, the property is your physical and financial responsibility if and until you sell it.
So, before you start shopping for homes, decide whether you’re prepared. Determine the true cost of owning a home and get averages on costs. Then, compare this to your personal budget to ensure you can reasonably afford it along with your other monthly expenses.
If you presently live in a rental property, you’re used to a landlord or super completing maintenance tasks for you. If you’re not ready to invest the time, money, and energy it takes to maintain a property’s structure, safety, and integrity, chances are you’re not ready to own a home.
Shop Around for Mortgages
Don’t simply accept the first mortgage offer you receive for the sake of purchasing a home. Seeing as how mortgage payments consume the bulk of your housing expenses, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Whether you know it or not, there are actually affordable mortgage programs with great savings. These programs offer looser eligibility requirements, low interest rates, down payment assistance, and much more.
For example, if you or your significant other served in the armed forces, you could qualify for a VA loan. If approved, you wouldn’t be required to have a down payment or cover closing costs. Your only responsibility would be a VA funding fee.
Work With a Realtor
While it is possible to purchase a home without a realtor, if this is your first time, you should work with a realtor. Realtors are well-educated in the real estate industry. They’re aware of available properties based on your budget. They know how to narrow down your options to help you find a house equipped with everything you want. Lastly, realtors know going property market values to ensure they’re getting you the best deal.
When selecting a real estate agent you should complete an online search to see who is available in your area. After reviewing their company pages or profiles, you should then assess client reviews to get a better understanding of what your experience would be like. Finally, schedule a phone or in-person interview to ask questions about their education, experience, success rates, and services based on your needs.
Look Past Aesthetics
Most people have some idea of what they want their first home to look like. They gain inspiration from magazines, television shows, and blogs, and put together their idea of the place to live. Unfortunately, most of what people envision directly relates to aesthetics. Sure, having a good-looking house is certainly ideal, but at what cost?
As the saying goes, you should never judge a book by its cover. A house may look amazing but have structural and system problems that can set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars. On the same token, there could be a home that requires a little home improvement but has a practical layout, solid foundation, durable structure, and character.
When looking for your first home, consider things like the layout, size and number of rooms, system efficiency (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, etc), comfort, and convenience. Anything else you may have imagined in your dream home can be added over time with home improvements.
Wise home buyers know that purchasing a house is one of the biggest decisions they’ll ever make in their lives. They know that this decision will impact them for years to come. As you begin your quest to find your first home, be reminded of the above-mentioned tips to ensure you make a decision you’ll be proud of.