10 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
The process of finding, then buying a house is a long one. If this is the first time you’ve done it, you probably have a lot of questions.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tips to help everything go smoothly. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, here are 10 things you should do to ensure you get the perfect house.
1. Do Your Research
Before you even start looking at houses, you should learn about the real estate market. Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market? What are the trends in your area? Knowing the lay of the land will help you make smart decisions when it’s time to buy.
2. Keep Your Paperwork Organized
Buying a house means a lot of paperwork. There’s paperwork from the inspections, builders, the bank where you get your loan — the list seems endless. To keep track of it all, make sure you neatly file your paperwork and make backups.
3. Figure Out Your Budget
Before you can start building your home, you need to determine how much house you can afford. As you make calculations, don’t forget to include the following:
- Closing costs
- Maintenance costs
- Down payment
4. Be Sure Before Submitting Your Offer
If you back out of the deal after the seller accepts your offer, you’ll lose the good faith deposit you put down. So make sure you don’t submit an offer until you’re absolutely sure it’s the lot for you.
5. Make Your Must-Have List
What does a house need to feel like home? Before you talk to a builder, you should make a list of everything you want from the property. When you’ve written down everything you can think of, prioritize so you know what you can let go of if you have to.
6. Think About the Future
Whether you eventually plan to sell or access your home’s equity, you must consider its future worth. Is this a property that will gain or lose value? A real estate agent can help you figure this out.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate
You can usually haggle with sellers, so don’t be afraid to go below the asking price when you make an offer. A real estate agent can help you strategically negotiate to find a price everyone agrees on.
8. Go to the Open House
Take advantage of open houses and model homes to see the property up close and personal. If you can’t make the journey, many builders offer virtual open houses.
9. Visit the Neighborhood
If you can, take an afternoon to visit the neighborhood in person. Make a note of the green spaces, the culture and housing conditions. You should also do some research on the following:
- Cost of living
- Crime rates
- School reputations
10. Save, Save, Save
Buying a house will probably be the most expensive thing you ever do. To cut down on the loans you’ll need, start saving as soon as possible.