First-Time Home Buyers
All the below may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. We provide a free first time buyer consultation please contact us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.
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: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home. 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. There are many benefits of a pre-approval; knowing your real budget, don't waste time, speed up mortgage approval, advantage in negotiation and revealing speed bumps prior to falling in love.
Did your lender:
- Review employment documentation?
- Review your credit score?
- Explain various types of mortgages? Fixed? Variable? Terms? Rates?
- Review banks statements, discuss required down payment and closing costs?
- 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 (pool, den, 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: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. You deserve to be represented fully.
- First Time Home Buyer Consultation: 45-60 min presentation free of cost and commitment. The home buying process explained, step by step in a safe and calm environment (usually including a hot beverage!)
- 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.
- Have your agent set up a saved search for you to help keep you up to date and informed on the current listings that fit your criteria.
- A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you.
- Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search. Or for those of your that are tech savy, set up an online profile to save and favorite proeprties that catch your eye.
- Location: Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?
- 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? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
- Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
- Include inspection, condominium document review & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
- Review the title document.
- Hire qualified professionals to guide you; real estate agent, licenced inspectors, document reviewers, mortgage specialists, lawyers etc.