First-Time Home Buyers
Buying a home is a big move. It requires time, money, and research, and when you’re just starting, it can feel a little daunting. Fortunately, the right preparations and up-front knowledge can alleviate this stress—and make the process easier, too. 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.
- Understand Your Budget: Your first step toward buying a home is to understand your budget. You need to have a good handle on your finances, as well as know what you can afford to spend every month on your new home. Most experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your income on housing. Keep in mind there will also be additional costs that may come with being a homeowner, like maintenance and repairs, utilities, property taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, and more.
- Pre-Approval: 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. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
- 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: Hiring your own real estate agent, will give you an agent who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. The Kirk Simmon Team will meet with you to walk you through the home buying process and help you figure out what location and types of houses will work best for your needs. Once you've chosen a home to buy, The Kirk Simmon Team will assist you in negotiating the entire purchase process, including making an offer, getting a loan, and completing paperwork.
- 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.
- A list or file of the properties that your agent has shown to you.
- Paper and pen for taking notes as you search.
- A camera to snap pictures of homes you have toured to help you remember your favories and features you really liked.
- 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:
All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.