Shopping for a first home can prove to be an overwhelming experience, especially for those unfamiliar with the buying process. Finding a happy home doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Before diving in head first, there are a few things first-time home hunters should consider.
1. Know your budget. Talk with a lender to get an idea about what you can afford. Don’t forget to consider your down payment and closing costs in your calculations. Down payments are usually paid at a rate of 10% in the first six months or 15% in the first nine months. Closing costs are usually 1.5-2% and cover land transfer and lawyer fees.
2. Know what you’re looking for. Available real estate includes a variety of options ranging from large rural property to close knit condominiums, so knowing your preferences before seriously shopping can save a great deal of time. Keep in mind that you’re unlikely to find a home that meets all of your criteria, so you may have to prioritize your preferences and renovate later to get the “dream home” you’ve always wanted.
3. Shop around. Most real estate companies have made the home buying experience easier by featuring available listings on their websites, most of them now including virtual tours or photo galleries as well as the asking price, square footage, year built, and amenities. Take advantage of these sites to shop for great deals before contacting the real estate agency. Once you’re ready to speak with an agent, don’t hesitate to negotiate. Remember that the listing price is only a starting point.
4. View your options more than once. Visiting a property for the first time can often be exciting, and realtors are sure to highlight all of the advantages, so your initial reaction may be slightly skewed. Revisit properties that you are most interested in a second time and look for the needed repairs, possible remodeling needs, etc. Always have a home inspector take a look at the property in order to uncover hidden and potential issues.
5. Be prepared to pounce. Real estate is a fast-paced market. If you’re looking to buy a hot property, you’ll likely need to move quickly. Doing your homework and being prepared before visiting your real estate agent can help to ensure that you’re ready to buy when you finally find your ideal property.
6. Remember that purchasing a home is an investment. Purchasing a home is a major step, often one that will continue to need nurturing and long-term continual investment. Consider future goals in your purchasing decisions. Plans to flip a home for profit will likely need different preparations than selecting a home for residence.
Buying your first home is a major milestone, and while many first timers feel a little lost, the process can be made far easier with the right amount of preparation, the willingness to negotiate, and realistic expectations. A little homework can go a long way in making your first-time home buying experience fun and exciting!
Finding the Perfect Place
Written by: Miranda Moore