What are the essential steps every first-time buyer should know?
The best way to prepare to own your first home is to educate yourself about the home buying process. You can take a class or pick up books from the library. Also, read the real estate sections of your newspaper and consumer magazines.
Here are some things you will want to do:
- Ask lots of questions
Learn what questions to ask and where to ask them. Your list of questions when you are interviewing real estate agents will be different than those you ask when shopping for a lender.
- Prioritize your criteria
Determine what you want and need in a new house and prioritize your list.
- Study a variety of mortgage choices
Investigate the available loan options and decide which is best for you. You may want to interview several lenders to learn about the many mortgage products available.
- Get pre-approved before you house shop
Get pre-approved for a loan before you start looking for a home so you know how much you can afford to pay. Once you are actively house hunting, lock in your interest rate - if it's a good one. This will speed up the closing process.
- Work with your agent
Work with your agent on a purchase offer when you decide on a home. You should ask your agent for a market analysis to find out what similar homes are currently selling for in your chosen area. You and your agent should tailor the sales contract to suit your needs. For example, you can make the sale contingent on a favorable home inspection report.