September 9, 2015 Josh Sprague

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home for the first time is a very big deal! You are about to make the biggest purchase of your entire life. So, before you do anything, you should make sure that it makes economic sense for you to own a home. You may be better off to continue your current living situation or rent a home. Yes, buying a home for the first time can be very exciting. But buying your first house can be also very overwhelming. If you want to reduce stress as much as possible when buying your first home, you need to prepare yourself properly and know exactly what you are getting into. Towards that end, here are a few tips to make your first time home buying experience a successful and enjoyable one:

Get Specific

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You have several options when purchasing a residential property: single family home, townhome, twinhome, waterfront home, condominium, or multifamily (duplex, triplex, fourplex) home. It is important to figure out what type of home is best for your needs. Chances are you will probably have this home for more than five years, so you will want to consider how your household situation may evolve over time. For instance, maybe you are planning to have kids. Is this a place where you would like to raise a family someday? You will want to consider the local schools, neighborhoods, parks, and community programs (see more about selecting the right neighborhood). Also, think more about location. How close would you like to live to work, to grocery, and to shopping and boutiques? Driving distance? Or would you like to walk and bike to those amenities?

Consider Financials

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Before you go looking to buy a home, you need to understand the costs of buying a home and how much you can afford. There are mortgage costs, home inspections, broker fees, closing fees, moving expenses, and new furnishings to consider. These are just fees before purchasing a home. There are also expenses associated with having a home of your own besides just paying the mortgage, including utilities, association fees, mortgage insurance premium, taxes, normal maintenance expenses, and home improvements. So, you should find out your maximum loan amount and figure out what you can afford, both from a purchase costs and ongoing home ownership perspective.

Hire the Best Agent

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The home buying process is something that you do not have to do alone. A good real estate agent can help you understand home buying process, locate homes that meet your needs and are within your budget, and help evaluate those homes. These professionals will also assist you in negotiating the best price for the home and any important terms you want, and will arrange for any related transactional services you may need. A good real estate agent’s expertise can protect you from any pitfalls you might encounter during the process. Hiring a real estate agent is one of the most important things you can do. It is important to talk to family, friends, or people you know living in the area you are looking to buy and ask them who they would recommend for a real estate agent. You may also want to use the internet and Google “real estate agents” in the location you’re looking to buy, then look at their websites, online reviews, and marketing efforts.

Research Potential Homes

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When you know what type, price, and location of the home you want, go online and search for homes. There are many websites with local listings that you can really refine the search to list the exact kind of homes you are looking for. You should also talk with your agent and see if they can find you any non-mls or pre-mld properties for sale. If you find a home that you like, visit the open house or go online and find a virtual or video tour of the home to get more details. It is very important to do your research on the home itself before making an offer on the home.

Do a Thorough Inspection

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No matter how good you think the home looks on the outside, you should always have a trained professional inspect the home. To facilitate this, you always want to write an offer contingent on a physical inspection of the home, and, depending on the area, on other relevant inspections such as termite, radon, and so on. You don’t want the biggest purchase of your life or your dream home to turn into a complete disaster. Find out if the home has any material defects or hazards. Home inspectors are helpful to protecting your safety and finding any latent defects in your first house. If you find any serious defects, ask your agent for the best way to go about the situation. You may be able to ask the seller to repair the items, request a price concession, or cancel your offer altogether if you’re not comfortable.

In Closing

Thinking about and following sound first time home buying advice advice will help you find the right home and protect your investment down the road. Once you are past the purchase, you will realize that buying a home is the first step on the road to financial independence, and you will have more opportunities to improve the property and build equity for yourself down the road.

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