Buying a house might be the biggest financial investment that you’ll ever make. The process can be intimidating for first-time homebuyers, so use these steps as a guide to buying your first home.
What to Do When Buying Your First Home
1) Hire the Right Agent
In the real estate industry, agents have an obligation to look out for their clients’ best interests. The first time you buy a home, find a buyer’s agent to help you through the process. Ask friends and family for recommendations and choose an agent who you feel comfortable with.
2) Understand What You Want and What You Need
Before you begin shopping for a home, decide what features you want in your new place. Make two lists: one list for the features you want and one list for the features you need. When buying your first home, having an idea of your basic needs will help your real estate agent find the properties that best suit you.
3) Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage When Buying Your First Home
Applying for a mortgage requires a lot of paperwork and may take a long time. Getting pre-approved before you start looking has benefits. You’ll know the maximum amount the lender is willing to let you borrow. Sellers prefer buyers who have a mortgage pre-approval. Plus, when you have a home under contract, the closing process takes less time because the lender already has the needed information.
4) Find a Monthly Payment You’re Comfortable Paying
When you learn how much the lender is willing to give you for a mortgage loan, you will still need to decide how much you can actually afford each month. Your lender may approve you for a $1500 monthly mortgage payment, but if you’re expecting to pay childcare costs or wanting to save more for retirement, you may only be comfortable paying no more than $1200 per month.
5) Don’t Settle
Don’t choose a home that doesn’t meet your needs. When buying your first home, don’t settle for an overpriced house or one that has major defects. New homes are listed every day and the right home for you may not be on the market yet. Searching for a home can take weeks or even months, so take the time you need and wait until you find the right home for you and your family.
6) Before Buying Your First Home, Order a Home Inspection
A home inspection is a report on the actual condition of the home. It will identify potential problems before you close on the sale. An inspection helps you make an informed decision on whether to buy, renegotiate the price, or just walk away.
Don’t let your first home buying experience cause you stress. Use these six steps so that you’re comfortable moving through the process of buying a home.