Home buying guide for first timers
- Patience is key during the home buying process
- Get a realtor you can trust
- Don’t rush the process
Purchasing a home is not for the faint of heart, but it’s not the scariest thing either. It just requires you to have your ducks in a row so that you can be as prepared as possible. Fortunately, you are already off to a good start by reading this article, so pat yourself on the back! Now let’s dig into the steps you need for buying a home.
Your first step in the home buying process is to get prequalified. A lot of realtors won’t even show you homes if you’re not prequalified. They do not want to risk showing you a home that you absolutely love only later to find out that you can’t get approved for it because of your income or credit. When getting prequalified, the lender gets information on your income, credit, and other factors to determine how much of a mortgage you would be able to afford. Getting pre-approved gives you and your realtor the insight to know exactly what homes you should be looking for without setting yourself up for disappointment.
The Right Team
There is only so much information online articles can provide. That is why it is important to find a realtor that can explain everything to you go along in the process. It can be stressful, but having the right realtor will make it significantly less stressful. Try to find a realtor based on recommendations from people you trust. You probably have family, friends, or coworkers that have recently purchased a home. Find out who they used and if they would use them again. You will know right away if they love or loathe their realtor.
House hunting is such a fitting term because you will literally be hunting for a house. You will find yourself looking high and low for the house that fits your needs. You will discover new neighborhoods in your area that you’ve never encountered before even though they were right under your nose. You may think you know exactly what you want in a house, but until you start looking you won’t realize the characteristics of a home that you can and cannot live without. Also, you may find a home that has everything that you want, but for some reason, you’re unable to put it under contract. That can be very disappointing. Yet, if you keep your mind and eyes open you will find another home that you absolutely love and fits all of your needs. Have your realtor make an offer and get it under contract. Now is when things get real.
Everything that glitters ain’t gold
Getting an inspection is absolutely vital during the process. However, it is a step a lot of homebuyers skip. Some get so caught up in how much they love the house that they try to cut corners to secure the deal. For others, they may not have the money to come out of pocket to pay the costs for the inspection. That is a big no-no! Just because a house has great curb appeal doesn’t mean there are not some major issues hiding behind the walls. Get an inspection!
Don’t rush the process
Closing on your home is where everything you’ve done over the past few weeks, or months, finally pays off. The house hunting, the inspections, the saving, the frustration…all of it for this moment. Be prepared. You will sign a lot of papers that day. A LOT. Try not to get overwhelmed. It may feel like you’re signing your life away and you kind of are, but it is truly worth it. Do some wrist exercises. When it is all over, you will be a homeowner! The feeling is surreal and definitely one you will cherish for a lifetime.
A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:
Get to know the mortgage loan estimator tool and how it can help you in your home buying journey
- 5 Must-know programs for first-time homebuyers | Finance 101
Learn about first-time homebuyer programs that can increase your buying power