Tips for First Time Home Buyers
Many people delay their first real estate investment. To them it may be a scary, confusing and stressful process. But knowledge is power, and understanding a few pointers can prepare you to further explore the home buying process, turning the overwhelming and intimidating experience into an exciting one.
Step One – Get Pre-Approved
Although you should not rely on your mortgage adviser to determine what you can afford, knowing your limits and the cause and effect of closing cost options can help you comfortably commit to your budget. Know your budget and weed out homes that you cannot afford.
A good reason to start with you pre-approval from a lender is you may want to polish your credit report before submitting to the bank. Paying down credit balances may be a more effective saving method than making larger down payments.
Step Two – Set Priorities
Know your requirements for room counts, square footage, school system and location. These are the permanent features that do not change without considerable investment.
On the other side of the list are the wants, the things that can be improved upon after you buy the property. This can include a pool or hot tub, landscaping, finished attic or basement and hardwood floors.
Assessing the wants versus needs will help to keep focused on what is important and where the values are in your real estate search. Look for homes that have all of the needs and leave some of the wants for future investment.
Step Three – Find the Best Real Estate Team
The real estate team is most often headed by a professional Realtor of your choosing. Although they will be compensated by the commission paid by the seller, you should take the role of employer when considering your options. Know what features you value in the realtor you will choose. You should consider their strength as a negotiator, an advocate, a personal shopper and diligent communicator. A good Realtor will enhance the investment of time and money you are giving to the project.
But the next most important member of your real estate team may be the home inspector. They will help you avoid costly problems evident only from a thorough home inspection. Just as with the Realtor you should talk to several before hiring one. Ask for qualifications, what is included in the inspections, how much time he spends and how he reports back to you. Areas of concern may include but not be limited to construction quality, type and integrity of the foundation, condition of plumbing, heat and air system, electrical wiring and roof.
Knowing what you can afford and what you are looking for in a home will help you recognize how valuable a prospective property may be for you. And once you know how to value a property, you will be more confident in how much to offer for it.