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Home Buying Rookie?: Check Out These Top Tips for Buying Your First Home

You finally did it! You made the exciting yet terrifying decision to buy your first house. So… now what?

The home buying process can seem daunting. Between lenders, mortgage rates, hidden costs, and competitive real estate, you’re overwhelmed before you get started.

Not to worry. With some planning and research, you can knock this home buying process out of the ballpark and end up with the house of your dreams.

Ready to get started? Let’s look at these top tips to help you navigate the steps to buying your first home.

Know Your Down Payment Options
Most home buyers plan to put 20% down on a new house. Depending on what type of home you’re looking to buy, that could equal out to a hefty down payment.

Make it less stressful by starting your savings plan early. Set aside any work bonuses and your tax refunds. Plus, have automatic savings payments taken straight out of your paychecks.

For first-time home buyers who struggle coming up with a 20% down payment, you have the advantage of having help available to you. Government-sponsored conventional mortgages, FHA loans, and VA loans all allow you to put little to no money down on a new house.

Speaking to a mortgage specialist will ensure you know all your options and the fine print of each one.

Research Neighborhoods
You may have found the perfect house, but have you taken a long hard look at the neighborhood its in? As anyone in the real estate world will tell you, it’s all about location, location, location.

Something to consider is the commute time to your job. How are the schools and the crime rate in the area? Are there plenty of food and shopping options close by?

The location will not only influence the resale value should you ever move; it has a huge impact on your quality of life. Make sure the neighborhood you choose fulfills everything you need.

Know How Much Home You Can Afford
Before you start house shopping and get emotionally attached to one, you need to know how much home you can afford. That way you can shop for homes in your price range.

Use a home affordability calculator to get a good idea of how much monthly payment you can afford. Some say a good rule of thumb is to plan 25% of your monthly take-home pay on a house payment.

And be sure to include all the added expenses such as taxes, insurance, and any HOA fees.

Once you have a good idea of how much you can afford, compare mortgage rates and get pre-approved for a loan. Having that pre-approval letter in hand shows agents and home sellers you are serious.

Get Yourself an Agent
As a first-time home buyer, the steps to buying your first home will be a brand-new process. Because of that, you’ll need someone in your corner that can guide you along the way. That’s why you need a real estate agent.

Find an agent who is knowledgeable in the area you want to live in. Also make sure they’re motivated, understand what you’re looking for, and are a good personality fit.

Plus, hiring an agent can give you an advantage. Many times they know of listings before they come on the market. They’ll also be able to spot overpriced homes and help you negotiate a better price.

Buy a Home for Tomorrow
Buying a home is a long-term investment. With that in mind, you want to shop for a house that will meet your needs at least a few years down the road.

Don’t just think about what kind of house you’ll need today. Think about changes coming in the future.

Are you planning to have kids? Will a future dog need a backyard? Is there a chance your work commute may change later on?

Anticipating needs and buying a house to accommodate those changes will ensure your home works for you now and in the future.

Be Open-Minded
Many first-time buyers have grand ideas of what their new home will look like. But their expectations and budget constraints don’t always see eye to eye.

Be open-minded during your house hunt. A fixer-upper in a great neighborhood can be worth the investment. Plus, you’ll be able to add value with each home project you take on.

In fact, that’s one of the reasons to buy a home instead of rent. You’re able to decorate and make the home your own.

Negotiate the Right Price
The sticker price on a home doesn’t have to be the price you pay. In fact, most homes go through negotiations with the seller before a price gets agreed on.

That’s also where a good real estate agent will come in handy. They will be able to look at comparable listings and spot a good deal… or a house that’s overpriced. With that knowledge, the agent will be able to negotiate a price that’s fair and right for you.

But the selling price isn’t the only thing you can negotiate.

Like that swing set in the backyard? See repairs that need to be made right away? Is the seller willing to cover any of the closing costs?

These are all things you can negotiate into the price of your new house, which can also save you money in the long run.

Always Get a Home Inspection
You never know what’s lurking behind those walls. That’s why you should always get a home inspection after your initial offer gets accepted.

Your real estate agent can help make sure everything needing inspection is in the report. Plan on attending the inspection in person. And don’t be afraid to ask questions so you have a full understanding of what’s going on.

You want to make sure you’re investing in a good property. A home inspection will spot any troublesome, and costly, issues before you close on the house.

Master the Steps to Buying Your First Home
Buying a house is a major decision in life. By following these tips, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing how to take those all-important steps to buying your first home.

Keep checking back for more helpful posts like this!


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