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.
Below are Ten First Time Home Buyer Tips for making the home buying process an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
1. The first thing a first time buyer should do is talk to a real estate agent about the home buying process. It should not be a sales meeting and you should be able to find an agent that will agree to meet with you about the basics without having to sign a sales agreement with them. If you can’t find a good agent to talk to, you might want to consider talking to a loan officer at your bank or a mortgage broker.
2. 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 so you can check it for accuracy. Mistakes are common and you want to make sure that there is no fraudulent activity. You have the right to dispute errors on your credit report. If you come across something that you know is an error, circle it and send it to the reporting agency along with a letter of dispute.
3. First time home buyers should really study the mortgage industry. Take the time to really get familiar with the mortgage lending process. It could save you a lot of time and money!
You need to be able to find the right loan and lender most suitable for your needs. 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.
4. 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 size of the down payment and figure out what they need to do to come up with the money for it.
5. You must also learn about how real estate agents work. There are buyer’s agents and seller’s agents. The goal of the seller’s agent is to get the price that the seller most 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 probably been in the same boat, so they can probably recommend a good real estate agent. When meeting with a potential agent, pay attention to 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.
6. When looking for a home, consider all of the possibilities. Look up real estate agent’s 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, it is important to find an agent that is approved to sell HUD homes if you choose to take that road to home ownership. Better yet, you need to find one that is well versed in the HUD property buying process, as it can be very complicated.
Even as a seasoned real estate sales pro I always felt like a dummy whenever I pursued buying or selling HUD properties. It really is a specialty unto itself, so finding an agent who knows the process can make your HUD property buying experience a more successful one.
7. 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 just never know. You might opt for a different climate to alleviate your allergies or you could simply be transferred by your company. 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. Another issue that cannot be ignored 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 need to make sure that you don’t buy a home in a subdivision that won’t allow it because of deed restrictions.
9. Home inspections are an important part of the equation. Talk to your agent to find out when the inspection will be performed. It varies state to state. Sometimes the inspection will be right before the contract is signed and other times, they are performed right after an offer is made.
10. Finally, it's important for first time home buyers to 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 a time consuming task, but it is well worth it when you have your own "home sweet home."
That's it for now. Happy House Hunting!