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Top 5 Tips for a First Time Homebuyer

Getting ready to buy your first home? It can be exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time, not to mention the huge (lifelong) financial commitment. So, with that being said, it is pretty clear why it is essential to be sure you are making the best sound decision for your future. There are many things that you will have to deal with as far as your current residence, the move and costs associated with both, but here are 5 top tips of things to consider for your first home purchase.

  • Get your budget in check

When you are determining to buy a house, you really need to review your expenses and income to see what you can afford and cut back on the excess spending. This is not the time to buy a car, get a new credit card or take out a new loan. Take a look at what you are spending in your current residence and as long as you aren’t upgrading by a ton or downgrading, you can expect those expenses will be similar.

There will be a list of expenses that are home buyer expenses but those are typically one time charges, but you will have to consider those – such as realtor fees, pest and home inspections, filing fees, attorney fees, escrow, insurance, warranty, the down payment or point purchase as far as the financing options which leads us to the next step.

  • Compare your funding options

Depending on your status and financial situation will determine the financing options available to you. For example, if you are in the military or a veteran, you might have the option to use a VA Loan. Otherwise, there are other traditional and conventional loan options. If you have a relationship with a mortgage lender, this would be ideal or have a conversation with your bank to determine your options. They usually can estimate your fees and get you down to the estimated mortgage payment which would then give you an idea of what you can afford in a home – thus a preapproval for a loan.

  • Get yourself a good Realtor

Sure, you can try it on your own, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Buying a house is a huge commitment and going at it alone, well, we wouldn’t recommend buying a house without a Realtor. They are the experts, they know the forms, they know the market, they know the neighborhoods, the schools, going prices and when you are being taken for a ride. Don’t learn the hard way; get someone on your side. Ask your family and friends for a referral, surely each one of them know someone they would refer to you.

  • Think long term when looking

When you are looking for a home, keep in mind that your family size may change, albeit larger with a growing family or smaller as your kids go to college. If you plan to stay in this home and retire, consider your health, and how your lifestyle may change over time to be sure the home you are looking to buy will fill those needs.

Realize that this home of yours is your investment for potentially 30 years and you may be adding value to it down the line, and if so, consider the neighborhood and surroundings as you might not be able to get more than the neighborhood and market allow in 10, 20 or 30 years depending upon what improvements you make to the home.

Obviously we would agree, since we are home inspectors, that having a home inspection is one of the most important things you need to have done when you buy a home. But think about it, if you are thinking long term, then you know you won’t necessarily want to buy a house and then replace everything in it, unless you are flipping the house and not intending on living in it.

A home inspection will tell you what’s “under the hood” and the age of the structure like the roof and how old all of the appliances are as well as the shape of all of the main components of that house such as plumbing, major appliances, foundation, the pool or spa if there is one, termites and etc. Some home inspectors also provide radon testing as well as thermographic testing which shows you structural issues (leaks, pests) that aren’t see by the naked eye. (We are one of these type of inspectors) A home inspection basically shows you the condition of the home you are considering buying so you can ascertain if it is something you are willing to accept or it becomes a deal breaker.

Bottom line, take the time to evaluate your financial situation, your funding options, build a solid relationship with your Realtor, think long term and be sure to get a home inspection when you are buying your first home, or any home.

Should you have any questions about any of these services, please contact us or give us a call. We look forward to helping you with your home purchase.

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