10 Things to Remember as a First-Time Homebuyer

Posted by  on Apr 01, 2010
Purchasing a home isn’t as easy as you may think. First-time homebuyers often become overwhelmed with choices and responsibilities, in part because they may not be prepared for the pressures of buying real estate. So, if you plan to become a first-time homebuyer, make sure you are ready for it! Here are 10 things that any first-time homebuyer needs to keep in mind:

1. Pay attention to the market. Sometimes, the real estate market is considered a “buyer’s market,” and sometimes, the real estate market is considered a “seller’s market.” A buyer’s market means that there are a lot of houses on the market, but in a seller’s market, prices are inflated and you have to compete to get the house you want. Buying during a buyer’s market is the better choice, since you’ll find bigger houses in nicer areas for less money. Pay attention to the national market, but also to the market in your neighborhood to determine the best time to buy.

2. Don’t settle, but don’t wait. If you’re serious about buying a house, don’t wait for that dream home to come along for an unbelievable price. There’s a good chance that will never happen. You’ll find things “wrong” with every house, so don’t wait for years before picking one to purchase, or the best ones will pass you by. You don’t have to settle for the first house you visit, but when you find a home that you are 99% happy with, make an offer.

3. Do your research. Go online or talk to a real estate professional to find out the prices of similar houses in similar neighborhoods. That way, when you do find a house that you like, you can make an appropriate offer. If no one else is bidding on the house, they may sell if for less, but they’ll be insulted and pass if your bid is way too low.

4. Take your digital camera. When you visit more than two or three houses, they’ll all start to run together in your mind. Take your digital camera! Whenever you see a house that is “in the running” for you to purchase, take a ton of pictures and write down all of the relevant information. Are appliances included? What repairs are needed? What is the school district? Start a file for each house so that when it comes time to make a decision, you can do so easily.

5. Think about the neighborhood first and the home second. You can make repairs to the home if needed, but it is almost impossible to single-handedly fix up a neighborhood. What good is a perfect house if you have to worry about the crime rate? Look for the best neighborhood you can afford first; then look for a house within that neighborhood.

6. Shop around for the best mortgage rates. There are options out there, and you don’t have to go with the first lender who will approve you for a mortgage. Check out at least three or four places to find the best interest rate and other conditions of the loan.

7. Do a home inspection. Yes, home inspections can be expensive. However, getting one can save your time and money in the long run. Home inspections will check for water and electricity codes, insect problems, asbestos, mold, structural damages, and more. Problems like these can actually put you in danger and will need to be fixed. If you uncover problems, you can negotiate for a lower price, have the homeowner pay to fix the problem, or walk away from the deal altogether.

8. Do a full land survey if necessary. Title insurance won’t save you from disputed property lines, and if, for example, the back corner of your garage is sitting on the neighbor’s property, you’re going to have a problem at some point. A land surveyor will uncover these problems. Talk to the homeowner; they may be willing to split the cost.

9. Prepare for the expenses of the move. In addition to needing a down payment, you’ll also have to move your belongings, and that can be expensive. Even if you don’t hire professional movers, you’ll still have to pay to rent a truck or use gas to move things yourself, buy boxes, buy cleaning supplies, and take time off from work. Don’t forget to put some money away for that.

The more organized you are, the less stressed you’ll be. From start to finish, be organized. The less organized you are, the higher your stress levels will rise. Start with an organized search, keep your mortgage information filed, and even when you go to move, pack your boxes by room. This will help you stay stress-free!


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