Top Tips For First Time Home Buyers
March 6, 2017 | Rachel Calvert
Purchasing a home for the first time can feel positively overwhelming, and most people aren’t even sure where to start. There’s a lot that goes into the home-buying process, but I’m here to give you the top tips I feel are most important and will help you avoid making mistakes!

1.Get Educated On The Financial Aspects

Yes, this one is super important! If you aren’t sure how mortgages work, it’s time to educate yourself. There are tons of great resources online to help you learn about the whole mortgage process. Get good recommendations from your friends, family, and Realtor. 

It’s important to figure out how much of a loan you can qualify for before you get too invested in anything. Also, make sure you look into things like first time home buyer grants and see if you qualify for any of those!

2.Find a Realtor to Help You

You can find TONS of information online about real estate and houses available for sale in your area, and it maybe tempting to browse some websites and DIY the whole home-buying process, but it’s not that simple! Realtors have tons of experience and knowledge that makes them an invaluable asset when looking to buying a house.

This is their job, so they know all the ins and outs of the whole process. They can also do a lot of the legwork for you so all you have to do is show up, tour the houses, and make a decision! As first time home buyers, you don’t have much to compare against, so having a Realtor, they will give you advice and insights on the houses you tour. Once you’re near the end of the whole process, they will help you negotiate; they will know how far to push and when to back down. 

3.Stockpile on Cash

Make sure you have access to cash before you start the whole process. Most first time home buyers are surprised at how much cash you have to spend to purchase a house. A lot of people assume most of the costs would be rolled into your mortgage (rookie mistake), but you need cash on hand for the down payment, home inspection, appraisal fee, earnest money deposit, and closing costs. Closing cost typically can be as much as 2-4 months of your new mortgage payment, in cash. Another reason having a Realtor is beneficial, they inform you of up front costs. (Side note: I don’t mean you need a stack of hundreds. Usually, closing cost are paid certified check or wire transfer. I just mean you need to have actual money in your bank account, because you can’t pay closing costs with a credit card!)

4.Be Practical and Remove Emotions

Before you start visiting houses, I like to encourage buyers to make a list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”, then print it out and take it with you to each house you visit. That way if you show up to a house, and it doesn’t have all of your “must-haves”, you can easily cross that house off the list. Remember, homes don’t have feelings. You aren’t hurting a homes feelings by not choosing it. It will be perfect for someone, so just leave it on the market so they can find it!

Another place where you can try to remove emotions is in the staging of a house. It’s definitely true that a nicely stage house can look more appealing than a completely bare or is still being lived in. Try and take the staging out of the equation and focus on things like the layout, is the space useful, are there enough outlets, closet space, etc. 

5.Learn About Your Neighborhood

The house you buy is part of the equation, but your neighborhood is another big part! If you have kids, are there good schools nearby? Who lives in the neighborhood? You maybe purchasing a home in a newly developing area, so it’s important to keep in mind that your next door neighbor might change in a couple months and a new house will be built. Other things to keep in mind: Are there mostly families or singles? Are there large chains or small markets? Apartment complex or just single family homes? Access to highway? 

6.Buy Your House

Once you’ve found the perfect home, it’s time to put in an offer! This is the last phase of the home-buying process is another place where having a Realtor can really help you out. They have a lot of experience and knowledge and can help you figure out how to make a competitive offer, whether to make your offer contingent on certain repairs or changes, and how to negotiate if your offer isn’t accepted straight away. Don’t get discouraged if your offer isn’t accepted, on average you can put in 3-4 offers before one is accepted. 

Once your offer is accepted, make sure you get a home inspection (your Realtor will give you referrals). Once your ready to close, a Realtor will be a huge help. They can get everything ready so all you have to do is show up to the closing table and sign about 8,000 sheets of paper. Then they will hand you the keys, and you’re officially a home owner! :)

(P.S. Make sure to get all of the locks changed as soon as you get the keys!)


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