The first time we try or do anything can be scary. We have to take chances, do something we aren’t totally comfortable with and make a commitment whether it be in the mental or physical sense. For first-time homebuyers, this is the case. Having no knowledge on the topic prior, buyers can get nervous and scared about what to expect and what is expected of them.
While having the “first-time buyer” jitters is normal, here is a list of tips that can help give first-time homebuyers gain a peace of mind as they start the search for their very first home.
Prioritize an amenities and features checklist
For homebuyers, the purchasing process is an emotional roller coaster. Without a good grip on the end goal, there can be some straying from the path of finding your first home.
Creating a checklist of what you will be looking for as you start your house hunt will allow you to turn to logic when faced between the emotions of deciding between different listings. On your checklist, have three columns: one for must-have items (priorities), another for preferred items and last one for additional amenities and features that would be helpful to have. Take copies of your list with you to every showing and open house. It will allow you to take a step back when it’s between a house that is OK but has all your must-have items and a house that you love but barely has any must-have features to it.
Make sure to also budget—and include everything, even interest, taxes and insurance. It can help you make your checklist and examine it compared to your budget.
Research ways to finance
Purchasing a home is not the cheapest of things—that’s not even a question. But there are so many different options on how to go about financing your potential new home that it shouldn’t be a worry.
There are a handful of mortgage options and by researching your local lending companies, homebuyers can easily go that route. There are grants for teachers, farmers and other types of professions, or for the area you might live in. Many mortgage options also have different income limits in order to qualify for loans, funds and grants, so disqualifying yourself based on how much you make shouldn’t be a worry either.
Making sure that you’ve thoroughly researched all options for financing and talking with your broker will help make the “financial burden” of purchasing your first home not so heavy.
Read up on the neighborhood and schools
On most home listings, it will show a list of the neighborhood schools and how they rate. This can also be an indicator of how nice the neighborhood is around that school.
People are willing to pay to make sure their kids end up in a good school district or have a good neighborhood school, and even couples without kids take this into account for when they plan to start a family in the future.
The 2014 National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reported that 29 percent of homebuyers stated school quality as something they considered important when looking for a home. About 22 percent said being close to a good school was a deciding factors in their purchasing their home.
And while living near a good school or in a good district might cost you a bit more, if you ever resell your home it will help be able to boost the price.
Think about buying for the long term
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported in 2009 that the average homebuyer of a single-family home lives in their home for 13 years before moving out.
When you’re looking into buying a home, make sure to hire an inspector that will be able to find problems that you wouldn’t notice as just an average homebuyer. You want to know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line. This can also prevent long term problems from arising or being able to determine if investing money into the house to fix it will be worth it in the long run.
Negotiation is essential
Just because it is the first-time you have bought a home doesn’t mean you should go in unaware of what is too much for an asking price. There are three essential factors when it comes to the negotiating the purchase your first home or any home for that matter: having the needed information, preparation and staying optimistically realistic.
Like I said before, have the inspector check out the home to make sure the insulation in the walls is OK and the plumbing is fine. Know what the going market price for the area you’re looking into is so if the home is overpriced you can negotiate upgrades or other fixings that can boost the home to make it worth the asking price.
Take your time before you sign
There are certain big-purchase decisions that shouldn’t be rushed: purchasing a car, a boat and also a home. There are so many steps involved in purchasing a home—the home contract, finding a mortgage loan, qualifying, searching for the home and more—that it can easily overwhelm you. It’s easy to settle for an OK home and just sign a contract then actually taking the time and paying attention to the details of each step.
Make sure you research your financing options. Interview agents about more than just real estate to see how they are as a person. Take time to budget and thoroughly look for a home.
Don’t just sign the contract to purchase the home. Read over and examine the details. Ask about any contingency clauses that might offer you protection, or ask to see a breakdown of what the mortgage payments on the home will go toward.
Buying a home for the first time can be scary. But when you take the proper steps to get to the end goal of your dream home, it makes the entire process a whole lot easier and worth it.