Ten Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

first time home buyer

Are you a first time home buyer? Buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you will ever do. If you have spent years living in apartments, there is nothing more satisfying than owning your own home.  But you need to know ten critically essential things to make your home-buying process an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  Here they are.

1. Putting First Things First - Talk To a Real Estate Agent

A first-time buyer should first talk to a real estate agent about home-buying. It should not be a sales meeting. You should be able to find one who will agree to meet with you about the home-buying process without signing a sales agreement. If you can’t find a good agent, you might consider talking to a loan officer at your bank or a mortgage broker.

2. Learn How Real Estate Agents Work & When They Work for You

You must also learn about how real estate agents work. There are buyer’s agents and seller’s agents. The seller’s agent’s goal is to get the price the seller desires. However, a buyer’s agent’s responsibility is to negotiate the best deal for the buyer. So, it can be in your best interest to go with a buyer agent arrangement.

The best way to find the right agent is to ask your friends for suggestions. They have all been in the same boat, so they may be able to recommend someone they feel comfortable with.

When meeting with a potential agent, consider how they treat you. Make sure they listen to you when you talk about what you want. Also, how are their follow-up skills? Do they take the time to return your calls or emails? If they don’t take the time to respond, move on. There is a better agent out there for you.

3. Get Your Finances in Order

An equally important tip for a first-time home buyer is to get their finances in order before they apply for a mortgage. Order a copy of your credit report to check it for accuracy. Mistakes are common, so you want to ensure you are aware of any fraudulent activity that occurs for redress. You have the right to dispute errors on your credit report. If you encounter something you know is an error, please circle it and send it to the reporting agency along with a dispute letter.

4. First Time Home Buyer Financing Tips

home buyer financing tips

The first time home buyer should study the mortgage industry. Take the time to get familiar with the mortgage lending process. It could save you a lot of time and money!

You'll need to be able to find the right loan and lender best for you. Familiarize yourself with industry terms like debt-to-income ratio and adjustable rate mortgage. Learn the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualified. It will all seem foreign at first, but taking the time to learn the business will spare you from headaches in the future.

5. Decide What You Want and Need in a Home

Also, you need to figure out what your wants and needs are. What kinds of amenities are you looking for? How many bedrooms do you want? Do you want one story but prefer a two-story home? First-time home buyers also need to consider the down payment size and determine how to come up with the money for it.

6. Consider All Housing Options; FSBOs, Foreclosures, MLS, etc.

When looking for a home, consider all of the possibilities. Look up real estate agents websites. Don’t rule out For Sale by Owner Properties and foreclosed homes. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homes can often be found for very reasonable prices.

However, finding an approved agent to sell HUD homes is vital if you take that road to home ownership. Since it can be complicated, you'll need to find one well-versed in the HUD property buying process. 

Even as a seasoned real estate sales pro, I always felt like a dummy whenever I pursued buying or selling HUD properties. It is a specialty, so finding an agent who knows the process can make your HUD property-buying experience more successful.

7. Factor In Resale Potential of a House Before Buying It

Now, before you even think about making an offer, you need to consider the resale value. You might plan on being there for a long time, but you never know. You might opt for a different climate to alleviate your allergies, or your company could transfer you. You want to pick a good location that will be attractive to others so when it's time to resell and move on, it will be as desirable to others as it was to you.

8. Deed Restrictions

Another issue that needs to be addressed is the deed restrictions, which govern what you can and cannot do with the property. If it has always been your dream to have a pool, you must ensure that you don’t buy a home in a subdivision that won’t allow it because of deed restrictions.

9. Home Inspections

Home inspections are an essential part of the equation. Talk to your agent to find out when the inspection will be performed. It varies from state to state. Sometimes the inspection will be done before the contract is signed; other times, they are performed right after an offer is made.

10. Stay On Top of Things

Finally, a first time home buyer must stay on top of things. Any number of problems can crop up at the last minute and delay the purchase of your home. If you aren’t sure about something with the paperwork, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Purchasing a home is time-consuming, but it is well worth it when you have your own "home sweet home."

That's it for now.  Happy House Hunting!

Other pages you might like

5 Mistakes First Time Homebuyers Make 
Homebuyer Tips - Ten Things To Avoid  
Real Estate Appraisals Are For Lenders - Not Byers and Sellers  
How To Buy a House  

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