5 Tips For First Time Homebuyers
While buying your first home can be a somewhat intimidating experience it can also be quite rewarding, particularly if you know what to expect and are completely prepared. Following these 5 simple tips from an experienced real estate agent will get you started in the right direction:
- Is home ownership right for you? Purchasing a home is typically the single largest investment you will make. It’s important to make sure that investment fits your lifestyle and your budget. Home ownership can provide you with a level of financial security, particularly when housing prices rise and your investment appreciates in value. It’s also rewarding to be able to design, renovate and decorate your new home to suit your own personal tastes. However, it’s equally important to consider key factors of homeownership like being able to take on the financial responsibility and care of your home. This includes coming up with an initial down payment, regular mortgage payments, maintenance, repairs and taxes.
- Financing: Once you’ve decided that home ownership is indeed right for you, it’s important to evaluate your financial situation and to determine what you can comfortably afford without becoming house poor and weighed down with too much debt. Working with a mortgage specialist is the perfect way to get started and provides you with the ability to obtain mortgage pre-approval so you know exactly what budget you’re working with.
- What should you buy and where? Before you start your official home search make sure you think about your needs in both the short and long term. First, consider the size of your home. Do you need one bedroom, two or three? Will you need a room for your home office? Do you need a garage for one car or two? Do you prefer a big back yard with deck for summer BBQ’s or a swimming pool to entertain family and friends. Also, do you plan on starting a family and having children? Does the community have good schools and parks? Be sure to consider your lifestyle today and 5 to 10 years from now when choosing the right sized home, amenities and location.
- Find a Real Estate Agent: With mortgage pre-approval in hand and an understanding of what type and location of home you need, the next step is finding the right real estate agent to assist with your search. The role of a real estate agent is an important one. An experienced agent will assist you in finding homes that meet your search criteria, developing and making an offer to purchase, negotiating the best possible deal on your behalf and providing you with the expertise to counsel you every step of the way.
- Making an Offer to Purchase: With the help of your real estate agent you find the perfect home of your dreams and it’s now time to make an offer. There are a few key factors to consider in this important stage and relying on your real estate agent to assist you based on their expertise and experience is an important step. Always remember, when it comes to making an offer, everything is negotiable. This includes the purchase price, conditions and terms, your preferred occupancy date, the deposit and any fixtures that you may want to have included. While you may not get everything you ask for, it usually doesn’t hurt to ask. Choosing the right offer strategy usually coincides with current market conditions. In a hot buyer’s market, you can ask for a lot more items and include a lot more conditions since you’re in the driver’s seat with little or no competing offers. Conversely, in a hot seller’s market, there a number of competing buyers, so it’s important to consider making an offer with few conditions and terms to secure a winning bid. Regardless of the type of market you find yourself in, always leave room for negotiating and rely on your real estate to find the right balance to make your offer a winner.