Buying your first home can be a whirlwind experience. From the butterflies that come with finding the perfect home to knowing what inspections and paperwork you need to fill out, it can be very hectic. There are some tips and tricks however that you can employ as a first time home buyer to help make the process a bit more enjoyable and far less scary.
The first thing that anyone looking to buy a home should do is sit down and write down their lists of must-haves, wants, and dislikes so that they can begin to formulate the perfect home in their head, or at least a detailed picture of it. This does a few different things, for starters, it gives you something to go off of. It allows you the chance to see what you want and to start to visualize this as your first home. It also gives your real estate agent something to go off of so that you can start to search with them for your perfect first home.
You should also work to outline your budget and how much you can afford to pay each and every month. This is something that you should do before you ever work toward being preapproved for a loan. Say you make $40,000 a year; the housing market tells us that you should be able to borrow two and a half times your yearly salary to put toward purchasing a home. This means that on a salary of $40,000, you can afford to take out a loan for $100,000 to put toward purchasing a home. This is a good figure for a first time home as you are likely not to have children yet and are likely to have much fewer needs than you would if you were an already established family.
The last basic you want to think about is that your first home is not going to be your last home. This means that even if you are in love with your first home, it is likely not going to meet the needs of you and your family until the day you die. Since it is not going to be your forever home, you should be willing to give on a few things. Say it does not have the right kind of flooring, you can change that later as you get more money. There are not tons of modern upgrades, you can always update later. Giving a bit on your first home is the best way to get started and to work toward your dream home in the future.
Where to Start
Before you ever set foot in a home, before you ever contact a real estate agent, before you ever go to your first showing, you should talk with your bank about taking out a mortgage. Being preapproved for a loan can do wonders for the home buying process and can help you get into a home faster. Sellers are incredibly happy when potential buyers come to the bargaining table with a preapproved loan, this means that you are serious about buying and that you are ready to purchase and may be enough to help sway the seller in your favor when it comes to negotiating the price of the home you want.
Preapproval also helps to cut out some of the paperwork and grunt work that you are going to have to go through when you do decide to put in an offer on a home. On top of approval, you should also find out who does home inspections in your area or what home inspectors that work with the lending agency you are using so that you can start to work toward getting approved for the loan. You also need to talk with your real estate agent and start collecting things like bank statements, and more so that you can speed up the loan process when you start to buy.
Finding Your Perfect Home
Your real estate agent is going to be your best asset in this process. They want you to ask questions, even encourage it, and are going to be by your side through the entire process. They will help you find what homes work in your budget and on your list of wants and must-haves, they are your negotiating agent when it comes to buying, and they can help you find a home that works best for you.
Overall, the thing that you need to remember when buying your first home is that it certainly is a huge step, but it is a step in the right direction and with the help of your agent, you lending agent, and even family and friends, you can find a home that works for you for years to come even if it may not be perfect twenty years down the road.