If you’ve never bought a home before, you’re probably terrified and don’t know where to start. And it can be a scary thing. After all, buying a home requires a lot of thought, consideration, commitment, and planning.
This can be made even worse by the fact that a lot of young people these days rent homes instead of buying. And the world of home buyers is very different from that of renters.
But there are some first-time homebuyer tips that can help you out in this journey. After all, buying a home can be exciting and fun, if you can get past the fear. It’s a time to expand your life, put down roots, and create a space for yourself.
To start out, did you know that many first-time homebuyers can actually receive special help? There are state programs, tax breaks, federal loans, and many other perks that are dedicated specifically to first-time homebuyers. This even counts for couples where one member has not previously owned a home.
So though it may seem scary, there are plenty of ways that you can get help breaking into the world of homebuying. Let’s take a look at a few first-time homebuyer tips for you to consider.
Thoughts before buying
Before buying a home or even looking for one, there are some things you need to consider. The first is long-term plans. Is homeownership something that you really want, and something that will fit with your life plans? Consider whether or not you are ready to settle down in one area, if you have the financial stability for it, and if you may be living with others.
One of the most important first-time homebuyer tips is making sure you have financial security before buying a home. It is a large commitment, and you don’t want to be caught in a situation that bankrupts you.
Think about not just the cost of buying a home, but of maintaining one and moving in. All of these things cost money, and ideally, you want to be able to afford them all and have a few months’ worth of emergency savings before buying a home. This ensures that you can afford it and won’t get caught in a financial hole.
While thinking about this, check your credit. Having good credit is vital to being able to purchase a home. There are plenty of free resources out there you can use to check your credit score, and if it isn’t good, there are ways you can improve it.
Another of these first-time homebuyer tips is to keep track of how much you spend on a monthly basis compared to how much you make. Use this to figure out if you have enough money to put into a mortgage monthly, or if you need to change your spending habits to accommodate this change.
The last financial consideration is home mortgages. You want to know how much mortgage you qualify for, as this is essentially your budget for buying a home. Try to get pre-approved for a loan before you start looking, so you know how much money you have. You should also have a backup lender in case your first one falls through for any reason.
Additionally, think about how big of a mortgage you really want. Just because the bank will offer you $300,000 doesn’t mean you should take it. Only borrow as much as you know you will be able to afford to pay back on a monthly and long-term basis.
More first-time homebuyer tips are to think about the type of home that will fit your needs. How many people will be living in it, what kind of rooms do you need, what accommodations, and total living space are all important thoughts. You could go for anything from a condo to a mansion, so find something that fits your needs in terms of space and finances. Of course, if you really wanted to, you could go the route of custom home building to give you a house perfectly fitted to you.
Think about not just the type of home, but the neighborhood. What kind of area do you want to live in? You may prefer city life, or you want somewhere more rural and isolated. Perhaps you want to have a large backyard or just a deck.
And if you have kids, this is even more important. Of course, you want a neighborhood that is safe. But you also want it to have all the things kids need, such as good schools, a kids orthodontist, outdoor play areas, and more.
Now that you’ve thought about all of this, it’s time for one of the most important first-time homebuyer tips. Who will help you buy your home? Now is the time to start looking for a real estate agent or broker.
In fact, these people are so essential to the process that more than 90% of home sales rely on the help of a real estate broker. This person should be someone that you trust, someone who knows your needs and can help you find the perfect home. If you have a friend in the business that is great, but if not find someone who is trustworthy and who you are willing to share your needs and wants with.
Finding a home
You’ve figured out your budget, you know what type of home you need, and you have a good real estate agent to help you out. Now it’s time for the next of these first-time homebuyer tips: actually finding a home.
There are many ways you can do this. Obviously, your agent will help you out, and they may even do most of the work for you. Have a conversation with them to see how much searching they will do, and how much you want to do.
You have other options as well. You can keep an eye out for for-sale signs, check online listings, sign up for a home sale website, and talk to friends and family. The more ways you try to find homes, the more options you will have. This means you’re more likely to find something that fits your needs.
Also be sure to make the most of open houses. These save you the time of having to set up a meeting. While they may not have as many opportunities to ask one on one questions, they are a good way for you to get first impressions of a house, and whether or not you may want to live there.
More first-time homebuyer tips are to consider houses that need a little work. If you have the ability to make small fixes, this can save you a lot of money, as houses that need fixing usually sell for less. And you can always hire professionals to help you, such as window cleaners or bark dust blowing services.
Additionally, doing these fixes yourself can give you an opportunity to personalize your home to your wants and needs. Of course, it can be difficult, and you may find yourself looking up how to treat a cut at home if you aren’t careful.
Another thing to look at is if the house comes furnished. This will affect your costs, as if it doesn’t have furniture, that’s something else you can buy. But that would also mean you can get furniture fitted specifically to you, so there are benefits to both sides.
These are just a few of the most important considerations when finding a home. Let’s take a look at some more first-time homebuyer tips to help you out.
Purchasing a home
Once you’ve found a good house, and you think you’re ready to move forward, it’s time to start thinking about purchasing. There are a few important first-time homebuyer tips to help you here.
The most important thing is to have a home inspection done. Depending on the situation, this can be done either by you or the seller. Either way, you want to make sure that you are there for it.
Make sure it is a very thorough inspection. The inspector should have access to all parts of the house, and be able to inspect everything from septic tank pumping to the health of the walls. Any problems with the house are things you may have to potentially fix, so it is vital that the inspector sees every last detail.
It’s also a good idea for you to follow the inspector around during the inspection. You don’t want to get in the way, but you can ask questions, and the inspector can explain any concerns they have in real-time. This will help you ensure that you understand every part of the inspection, and are aware of any potential issues.
Once that’s done, it’s time for negotiations. Your real estate agent will likely be the one to help manage negotiations between you and the seller. Think about what repairs will be needed, and who will pay for them. If you are going to pay for them, is the seller going to give you a lower price because of that?
Don’t be afraid to offer a different price than what they’re asking for. Asking price is not always selling price, so you can negotiate to find something that is fair to both parties and affordable for you.
Another important thing is home insurance. Lenders will require this before allowing you to take out a loan, and it is helpful for you. It will provide you with protection in case anything goes awry. So do your research to find home insurance that is right for you and all your needs.
And of course, if something goes wrong and you get stuck with a bad deal, don’t be afraid to move on. There are other houses out there, and you can find one that fits your needs and budget better. If the seller is asking too much, move on, and you’ll both be happier for it.
The selling might be the most stressful part of home buying, but once that’s over, you’ll feel much happier. There are a few more first-time homebuyer tips to help you out as you settle into your new home.
Now that you’ve done everything else, take a moment and congratulate yourself. You own your first home! Sadly, though, the work isn’t done just yet.
The first thing you need to do is actually move in. Get moving services, bring all of your belongings, and set it up the way you like. Now’s the time to customize your home and make it a pleasure for you to live in.
You should also take care of any updates or repairs that were noted in the inspection. Taking care of them right away will make your move-in experience easier, and make sure your house’s health lasts longer. Anything from roof repair service to plumbing repairs is important.
Once repairs are done, keep your house well-maintained. Stay on top of plumbing, pest control, gutters, and the like. You don’t want to compromise the safety, looks, or comfort of your new home. So make sure that everything stays up to date. Keep on top of cabinet refacing services, flooring, etc.
Now is also the time to get new furniture, if you need it. Without furniture, your home won’t be very comfortable. Don’t be afraid to get furniture that fits your personality, or that is maybe fun or quirky. And it doesn’t have to be all comfort. You may need to head to an office furniture store to set up your brand new home office.
Lastly, don’t worry about the market value of your home. Unless you’re planning on selling, it isn’t important, and will only stress you out. Once you’ve bought your home, take the time to relax and enjoy it rather than stressing.
Hopefully, these first-time homebuyer tips help you feel much more prepared to buy your first home. Though it may seem scary, it will be worth it, and you can have a lot of fun growing your life in this way.