Buying your first home is definitely one of the biggest moments you’ll experience in life. After you’ve saved and crunched the numbers, you finally decide that a home is something you’re able to afford.
One of the factors that often intimidate first-time buyers is the home buying process itself – what exactly should you expect? To prepare for your purchase, here are several helpful tips for you to keep in mind:
Know how much you can afford
The first step to buying a home is to determine how much you can afford, both for the down payment (which is typically 20% of the home’s’ price) and monthly payment. As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid spending more than 28% of your income on a mortgage.
A home buyer’s goal is to find their dream home. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford every feature on their wish list. It’s important that you try to see the potential of every home you look at. A home may not come with every item on your checklist, but it may have other features that you may not have thought about in the first place.
If you find little flaws within the home, determine whether these can easily be fixed – don’t simply write it off, especially if it falls within your price range.
Choose the right agent
Your real estate agent is one of the most important allies in your journey towards buying a home. A good agent will be able to give you solid advice, and provide you with listings according to your needs and preferences. Your agent is someone you should be able to look to for expert knowledge, so be sure you look for someone who has plenty of experience.
Look for a good home inspector
Another key figure in the home buying process is your home inspector. A home inspector is especially valuable if you’re in the market for a “fixer-upper,” or a low-priced home that may require pricey upgrades and renovations.
You can depend on your home inspector to provide you with an unbiased opinion concerning maintenance and repair work, as well as what it might cost you to implement all these. In addition, you’ll also be able to use any issues a home inspector may discover as a bargaining tool to lower the home’s price.
Don’t forget to prepare and do your research
Even if you have a good real estate agent at your side, don’t forget to do some research yourself. Before setting up a meeting with a potential agent, it helps if you take the time to familiarize yourself on common real estate terms, lenders and mortgages, and other important factors.
It’ll also help if you get all your financial documents in order before you meet with your real estate agent.
Being pre-approved means a lender has already checked your credit and has verified assets you own, as well as your income. Pre-approval will give you an advantage over other buyers, especially when a potential seller is looking for a smooth, hassle-free deal.