Buying your first home can be a daunting experience. We’ve put together some guidelines to help facilitate the process. By following these 4 simple “Rules”, you can reduce the stress that comes with buying a home and come out of it owning your own slice of America!
RULE #1 – HIRE AN EXPERIENCED REALTOR & HAVE A CONSULTATION
THE most important tip to buying your first home is to find an experienced Realtor and have an initial consultation. Your Realtor will lay out the entire buying process and give you an idea of what to expect, along with a timeline of the events leading up to you closing on your home. In today’s ever changing market place, being represented by a strong Realtor is paramount. New lending laws, called TRID, went into effect October 1, 2015 and now more than ever your Realtor and lender need to work closely together to make sure you are ready for your settlement date. Your Realtor can also guide you through the nuances of the local market and recommend advice on how to best negotiate through the current market. The initial consultation with your Realtor should also include these questions:
-What type of home are you looking for?
-What is important to you in a home?
-What are your preferred locations?
-How will your current living situation affect your purchase?
-Are you currently in a lease?
-When does that lease end? Can you go month to month once your lease ends?
-What are your long term goals?
-Do you foresee a job transfer in the future?
-Do you want to buy a home in move-in condition or are you willing to consider a home that needs work?
-If it needs work, how much? Simple & carpet or do you need to gut the whole house?
Other item to discuss with your Realtor are the costs associated with purchasing a home. Items like inspections and appraisals are paid for by the buyer outside the actual loan itself.
RULE #2 – GET PRE-APPROVED
It is essential to get your pre-approval in place by a reputable Lender for many reasons. Mainly, you want to know how much you can comfortably afford. That amount is not always what the Lender says you qualify for. Being qualified for a certain amount and being comfortable with the payments at that amount can sometimes be different. Say you buy a house worth X amount of dollars, then the down payment and closing costs will be X, and the PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) plus HOA/Condo fees will be X. Once you are comfortable with those amounts, you will have less anxiety looking at homes in your price range. Another reason to get pre-approved is to find out what type of loan you will be using. The type of loan – whether it’s conventional, VA, FHA, or some other program, could make a difference in your home purchase. For example, some condos are not FHA certified, meaning they would not qualify for a FHA loan. This would be important to know before you got your heart set on a condo only to find out you cannot purchase it with your preferred loan program.
RULE # 3 – STAY REALISTIC
Setting out to tour luxury homes can be a fun way to spend an afternoon, and a great way to get design ideas! But don’t set yourself up to be disappointed when you fall in love with a home who’s price is double (or more!) what you have been pre-qualified for. Know your price range, and stick to viewing homes within that budget. You can always incorporate some of those design elements you admire and give your new home that luxury feel.
RULE #4 – DON’T SKIP THE HOME INSPECTION
Pay close attention to your home inspector at the home inspection. Buyers can gleam a lot of useful information from this inspection. It’s not only to discover the good and bad points of a home, but it also serves as a valuable learning experience. Your home inspector will give you tips on maintaining and up keeping the different components of your home. The home inspector should also point out items that you will need to keep an eye on for future maintenance or replacement. Your home is usually your biggest asset so you want to have as much knowledge as possible about keeping your home in the best condition. A little preventative maintenance here and there can save you thousands of dollars down the road.
If you’re in the market for a home, contact the expert Realtors at the JS Realty Team @ Samson Properties for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation!