First-Time Home Buyers
If you are a first-time home buyer, use the guide below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home.
- Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
- List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes - things you would like to have (extra room for an office, granite counter tops, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
- Representation by a Professional: You do not need to call on every listing to schedule an appointment. Once you and I begin working together, we will target the homes you'd like to see and I will set up the showings and attend with you. I often have inside information on the home - its past maintenance history, sales history, etc. - that can be very beneficial to you. I will work to get you the best home for your family at the best value. And, if a home is listed on the MLS, the seller usually pays my fee!
- Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
- One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
- A list or file of the properties that I have shown to you.
- A camera to snap pictures or videos of homes you have toured to help you remember your favorites and features you really liked. Many buyers like to share these with family and friends to get input.
- Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
- Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? If not, what would it take to do so? And are those changes within your budget?
- Be Thorough: Don't forget such essentials as:
- Once under contract, have the property inspected by a professional home inspector and consider having a termite inspection. Find out as much as you can about the home as early as you can so that you can negotiate if anything comes up.
- Request a second walk-through to take place within 7 days of closing. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact me directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.