What are the essential steps every first-time buyer should know?
If you think it's about time you bought a home instead of renting, a little homework before you start looking will increase your odds of finding the best buy for you. First, you must educate yourself about the home buying process. You can take a class or pick up books from your local library. Also be sure to read the real estate sections of your newspaper to familiarize yourself with properties and prices in your area. Consumer magazines that focus on the home can also be a good source of information.
Here are some things you will want to do:
- Separate needs from wants
What are your priorities for your next home? How important are public transportation, community facilities, on-street parking, lot size, privacy? How many bedrooms and baths will you need? Will you need a space for a home office? How important are quality neighborhood schools?
- Investigate neighborhood prices
What neighborhoods feature homes in your price range? Are there areas you may have overlooked? With the help of a trusted real estate agent, you may discover neighborhoods and home types you may not have considered. We’ll introduce you to a wide range of possibilities and help you find the home that best suits your needs.
- Determine how much house you can afford
It's tough to home shop if you don't know what you can afford. Together with a reputable lender, we can help you determine how much home you can afford and which loan program will maximize your buying power. Also, by getting pre-approved for a loan before you start looking for your first home, you'll be a better prospect in the seller's eyes.
- Shop for the best loan
Which type of loan is best for you? Will you be in the house several years and benefit most from a long-term fixed rate, or do you want a lower, short-term rate because you plan to move soon or expect your income to increase rapidly over the next few years? You may want to interview several lenders to learn about the many mortgages available.
- Check out interest rates
What are current local mortgage interest rates for 15-year and 30-year fixed rate mortgages, and for 1-, 3- and 5-year adjustable rate mortgages?
- Dig up your down payment
Know where your down payment cash will come from. If it's coming from stocks, go ahead and sell them. If Aunt Mabel is loaning you the money, get it in hand so you are ready to go.
- Relax and let an experienced real estate agent to help you through the process
Buying your first home can be an overwhelming experience, but, with the help of a professional real estate agent, you can easily manage the process and confidently close the deal.
Chances are you can answer a couple of these questions on your own, but you may need some assistance with others. If you do, please call or e-mail us. We can make sure you have the preliminary house-hunting information you need.