I know that the home buying process is daunting, and it might seem like you have a million tasks on your plate. Everyone is giving you advice, but what should you really spend your time worrying about? I asked a recent first-time homebuyer what she wishes she knew before she bought her home. Here are the 5 pieces of advice she thought were worth sharing.
It’s no easy decision when debating over the many home lender options. First-time home buyers typically do the research themselves or use a mortgage broker, often referred by their real estate agent. Whichever route you decide works best for you, don’t be too hasty. Reading the fine print of every offer you receive is a must.
Not all mortgage rates are created equal. Mortgages can vary with the terms and conditions, in addition to the interest rate. Each mortgage caters to an individual's particular needs. If you want to find the best mortgage for you, you need to compare all of your options.
Everyone’s situation is unique. There are pros and cons to every loan. I'm not a financial advisor and you should always supplement my mortgage advice with a professional.
This may sound obvious, but plenty of first-time buyers do not fully comprehend the amount of money that is spent before getting the keys to their future homes. While it’s essential to determine your future mortgage allowances, it is equally imperative to save an emergency fund. If your current living situation does not allow a month to month lease agreement or you find the home you can’t live without prior to your planned moving timeline, you will need a financial buffer. More often than not, buyers find themselves stuck between their current living expenses and those of their new mortgage agreement. Moving costs and the possible use of a storage facility can become very costly even over a relatively short period. For direction on how much to set aside for these extra costs, speak with an experienced local real estate agent.
According to real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, “Buyers decide in the first eight seconds of seeing a home if they’re interested in buying it.” While following your gut is important, too often new buyers tend to make rash judgments. Before starting your home search, brainstorm a very detailed list of deal breakers. Is having a large yard a must? Are you only interested in homes with updated interior features? Do you require a minimum of 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms? Now narrow that list of must-haves down to the most important 3-4 features. This may take some serious flexibility. If you have the time and freedom to look at every available option, do it. I know this sounds daunting, but your earlier expectations may change during the house hunt. Sometimes it’s tough to find the home that has everything you ever dreamed of -- in the ideal price point -- in the perfect area of town.
It might be impossible to find a home that checks off all of the boxes upfront. But as time goes on, you can check the rest of the boxes off.
It’s relatively easy to factor which type of home and location suits your current lifestyle needs. A townhouse or an apartment may offer a cheaper mortgage upfront… it might even be within walking distance to your favorite coffee shop or gym! While these are all things to consider, do not lose sight of the long-term investment. If and when you decide to rent or sell your first home, it is extremely valuable to consider your future buyer. One key factor to consider is the area’s school district. Would your home be attractive to a family? If the answer is yes, there is a good chance you’ll have a more successful selling experience when the time comes.
Once you’ve chosen the home you want to make an offer on, you will need to get or review the home inspection to evaluate the home's condition. Keep this in mind: no home, no matter the age, is in perfect condition.
A good inspector will point out all the issues about the four main inspection points: HVAC, electrical wiring/panels, plumbing, and roofing. These four areas of concern will directly affect your home insurance coverage and more costly short and long-term repairs. The status of the inspection report will also play a role in the negotiation process between the buyer and seller. An experienced realtor will know exactly how to advise your next steps.
While not every scenario is highlighted here I am happy to answer any questions you have during your home buying experience. I even have a well-rounded list of vendors if you are in need of a referral.
We're happy to answer any questions you still have, or if you need our list of trusted vendors for a referral!
Find a home that checks (most) of your boxes.