There’s plenty to look forward to as a first-time home buyer, buying a home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make and an excellent asset to your future. The experience may be very different based on your location, financial situation and other factors, however, the basic steps, remain the same.
- What can I afford?
This is one of the most important questions to ask. Your mortgage lender will be able to figure out a number based on your income, credit scores, assets, and more. You will also need to take into account costs like property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. All of this will help you determine how much you’re able to pay for your home.
- Which Neighborhoods Are Best for Me?
Finding a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle is an important step of the home buying process. A good walk or a drive through the area can reveal nearby amenities that may be important to you: parks, grocery stores, restaurants, libraries, schools, etc. Commuting to and from work is a part of many people's days, so factoring in access to roads and public transportation may be a good idea. Research whether anything is going to substantially change the area, such as any planned developments or construction. You have to take into consideration all of your needs and wants before making a decision about where to live.
- Turnkey vs. Fixer-Upper?
A turnkey home is a move-in-ready property. There is no need for any improvements, or major projects. These types of homes let you get right to living your life rather than focusing on renovations. If you want your home to be uniquely your own, you’re still going to have to do some projects as these home generally come with neutral features to attract the broadest clientele. The market value is always higher for these homes, you’re paying a premium for convenience and instant access. Fixer-upper houses tend to need a bit of work. Dependent on how much renovations are needed to be done on the house, the market price will be lower. While doing the renovations, you can add your personal touch and make a house uniquely your own. A home inspection can catch some of the biggest issues, but it’s easy for a small project to uncover more issues. Because these problems have to be addressed, they create a much larger project than you’d planned. Whether you decide to renovate or buy a new home, it’s important to do your research before you proceed.
- Why should I use a real estate agent?
A real estate agent has your back. They have what's known as a "fiduciary" resposibilty to their clients, which means they are legally obligated to put their clients' best interests first and will. A real estate agent will help you find the right home and will offer you advice on what price to offer and any conditions you might want to consider. It’s important to choose an agent who is familiar with the area where you are searching for a home. Your agent will be alert for issues that may not cross your mind, they will recognize the telltale signs of any problems that may arise and know how best to approach them. This experience and knowledge can end up saving you thousands down the road.