8 Hints & Tips for First Time Homebuyers
As a first time homebuyer, you are likely overwhelmed by the process of buying a home! Never fear! I’m here to tell you what you need to be doing so that the transaction can go as smoothly as possible!
1. Meet with a lender ASAP!!
You will need to meet with a lender as soon as you’ve made the decision to buy your first home! The lender will go over your financial information and determine how much house you can afford! They will also get you pre-approved, which gets you ready to spring into action when we find the right house! To sellers, a pre-approval makes you a serious buyer!
2. Determine your Needs vs. Wants
Sit down on your couch and write out all of the things that you want in a house (go ahead & put that pool down!). Then, narrow down the list to your actual needs: Location, age, basement, style, bedrooms, baths, garage, etc!
3. Get a Realtor (this is where I come in!)!
A Realtor can get you into all homes available, will coordinate all of the details in the transaction, be your advocate along the way, and be your greatest resource!
4. Start looking at houses!
Once you have your needs list compiled, it’s time to get out and look! 4 houses in a day is usually the most that you should attempt, since they tend to run together after that! Bring your notepad or iphone and take notes/pictures (ask first!) on each house so you can remember what you did or didn’t like about each one.
Explore the home and get a good feel for it! How do you feel while you are there? How is the light in the home? In addition to the house itself, look at the outside and the neighborhood! What does the yard look like? Do people park on the street? How close together are the houses? Is there a lot of traffic on the street? What are the schools like?
I also recommend looking at a house at different times of day so that you can see how the lighting is and to also get a feel for the neighborhood at different times.
5. Make the offer!
When you find “the one”, it’s time to make the offer! Your Realtor can guide you in determining an accurate price to offer based on the current market. A word of advice; don’t lowball the sellers! You might want to try to get the best deal you can get, but you should also consider the sellers’ reaction to that offer. It could shut down the whole process right then and there. Think about how much you want the home and give your best offer!
6. Hire an inspector!
You need to really see what you are buying, and the inspection gives you a more in depth look! This is sort of a reality check, but never fear, your Realtor is a huge asset when it comes to negotiating inspection requirements with the sellers!
7. Get your financial ducks in a row!
After things have been agreed upon & signed by all parties, it starts to get very real! Your Realtor will make sure that the inspection requirements are being fixed and that everything is on schedule. You will also need to be in constant contact with your lender! Give them what they need in a timely manner so that deadlines aren’t missed! I cannot stress enough how important it is to remember this: DO NOT BUY ANY MAJOR ITEM UNTIL AFTER YOU CLOSE! Buying that new washer & dryer could potentially derail your home purchase!
8. Close on your house and get your keys!
A few days before closing, your lender will tell you the amount of your check to be written. Please remember that this has to be a cashier’s check, not a personal check! Your Realtor and your lender will accompany you to the closing at the title company and the closing agent will walk you through all of the documents to be signed. After signing, you will hand over your check and get the house keys! Time to celebrate…you just bought your first home!