Ready, Set, Buy
If you are a first-time home buyer, the news for you in most parts of the country is good. Mortgage rates are relatively low and higher inventory and lower asking prices mean market conditions are in your favor. If your finances are in order, now is the time to start that home search.
Begin with some good, old-fashioned preparation. Carefully review your budget. Determine how much you will have to offer as a down payment and how much you can afford to pay monthly. Remember to calculate not just your mortgage payment, but all your costs including taxes, utilities, food, entertainment, insurances, etc. Getting a good handle on your finances is critical to making the right real estate decision.
Next, think long and hard about what you want from this purchase. Is it a starter home that you want to stay in less than five years? Or maybe you want a home that can accommodate a growing family. Take some time to define your parameters like location, number of rooms, school system, and proximity to transportation.
Once you have outlined your budget and your wants and needs, you are ready to begin viewing listings online and in person. A real estate professional can be a huge asset during this process. He or she can prescreen homes and make sure they fit your budget and your needs. An agent can also provide insights on whether the asking price is fair and help identify a listing's strengths and weaknesses.
But even with this help, keeping track of all the pros and cons can be a challenge. Many first-time buyers keep a log or journal during their search. When you visit homes, ask if you can take pictures of the property. At the same time takes notes. Write down the things you love, like and dislike about each listing. In the end, a combination of thorough preparation, a good Realtor and organization can help make your first-time purchase a successful one.
Source: CENTURY 21 e-Newsletter