Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
Buying a home for the first time can be exciting and daunting at the same time. However, it can be a much easier and quicker process with the help of a real estate professional by your side.
First-Time Home Buyers
Buying a home can be an overwhelming process. From financing to negotiating to closing, there are a lot of moving pieces that can leave home buyers bewildered.
A real estate agent can help guide you through each step of the buying process, offering sound advice along the way. By working with a professional agent who knows the ins and outs of the real estate industry, you’ll not only end up with a great home but also walk away with a great experience.
Benefits of Being a First-Time Homebuyer
Buying a home is still considered a vital aspect of the American dream. As a first-time buyer, you have access to state programs, tax breaks, and federally backed loans if you don’t have the usual minimum down payment—ideally, 20% of the purchase price for a conventional loan—or are a member of a specific group. And you may qualify as a first-time buyer even if you’re not a novice.
Tips for when you're preparing to buy
- Before you start looking for a home, you should ask yourself a few questions:
- Where do you want to live? Are there particular neighborhoods or communities that you like?
- What kind of house would you like (need)? Are you looking for a particular style like an apartment, a condo, a townhouse, etc.? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want?
- Are there any particular rooms you need? Is a home office a necessity? Do you need a bonus room or a flex room?
- Do you entertain often? Do you have guests over often? Is a home suitable for entertaining something you’re looking for?
- Do you want a yard, pool, or guard gated community?
Searching for your dream home can be a long, time-consuming process. However, working with our professional team will make the process much more efficient!
- Start saving early
Here are the main costs to consider when saving for a home:
- Down payment: Your down payment requirement will depend on the type of mortgage you choose and the lender. Some conventional loans for first-time home buyers with excellent credit require as little as 3% down. But even a small down payment can be challenging to save. For example, a 3% down payment on a $300,000 home is $9,000. Use a down payment calculator to decide on a goal, and then set up automatic transfers from checking to savings to get started.
- Closing costs: These are the fees and expenses you pay to finalize your mortgage, and they typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. If you were making a 3% down payment on that $300,000 home, your closing costs could be between $5,820 and $14,550. That’s additional money you’d have to pay on top of your down payment. In a buyer’s market, you can often ask the seller to pay a portion of your closing costs, and you can save on some expenses, such as home inspections, by shopping around.
- Move-in expenses: You’ll need some cash after the home purchase. Set some money aside for immediate home repairs, upgrades, and furnishings.
- Check and strengthen your credit.
Your credit score will determine whether you qualify for a mortgage and affect the interest rate lenders will offer. Having a higher score will generally get you a lower interest rate, so take these steps to strengthen your credit score to buy a house:
- Get copies of your credit reports — and dispute any errors that could hurt your score.
- Pay all your bills on time, and keep credit card balances as low as possible.
- Keep current credit cards open. Closing a card will increase the portion of available credit you use, which can lower your score.
- Stick to your budget
A lender may offer to loan you more than what is comfortably affordable, or you may feel pressure to spend outside your comfort zone to beat another buyer’s offer. To avoid financial stress down the road, set a price range based on your budget, and then stick to it.
Consider looking at properties below your price limit in a competitive market to give some wiggle room for bidding. In a buyer’s market, you may be able to view homes a bit above your limit. Your real estate agent can suggest a range for your offering price.
- Pay for a home inspection.
A home inspection is a thorough assessment of the structure and mechanical systems. Professional inspectors look for potential problems, so you can make an informed decision about buying the property. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Standard inspections don’t test for radon, mold, or pests. Understand what’s included in the assessment and ask your agent what other inspections you might need.
- Ensure the inspectors can get to every part of the house, including the roof and any crawl spaces.
- Traditionally the buyer attends any inspections. Following the inspector around, you can better understand the home and ask questions on the spot. If you can’t participate in the inspection, review the inspector’s report carefully and ask about anything unclear.