First-Time Home Buyers
If you are a first-time home buyer, welcome! Buying a home is an exciting step and one we hope to help you with! Our team enjoys helping first-time home buyers, as well as seasoned buyers upsize, downsize, relocate... you name it! Below are a few helpful tips and recommendations to consider as you're getting started on buying your first home.
- Pre-Qualification: It's a good idea to connect with a mortgage lender or loan officer to find out how much you can afford and what payment is comfortable for you. A pre-qualification meeting is often an introductory meeting (that can often be over the phone or a virtual meeting) that helps a lender understand your income, debt and your current payments. This helps them come up with a rough ballpark of what you can afford for your mortgage payment.
- Pre-Approval: A pre-approval letter is a bit different. A pre-approval includes your mortgage lender or loan officer gathering some supporting paperwork from you on the front-end like W-2's, paystubs, and performing a soft credit-pull to determine your loan appication readiness. A prequalification letter or pre-approval letter is very helpful (although not required) to have prior to looking at homes. In a fast-paced market, offers submitted accompanied by a pre-approval can convey buyer interest and sincerity early on.
- List of Needs & Wants: We recommend making a two column list. The first column should include items you must have 'Needs' (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need, garage need, etc.). The second column is your 'Wishes' - things you would like to have (finished basement, main level office, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but this tool will help keep you on track for what you are looking for.
- Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, so you have an agent representing you in your search and transaction. Developing a good relationship with one agent throughout the process can simplify your search and process. Our team has a number of agents that are ready to help you find your first home!
- Start Touring Homes: Now that you have an idea of what you can afford / what is comfortable for your payment and a list of needs / wants, it's time to start looking at homes! Again, the best idea is to find an agent that you work well with and stick with them. Bouncing from agent to agent isn't the best idea in when looking for a home. If you have a bad experience and want to switch agents, talk with your current agent and let them know what's going on. It's best to communicate early on and then transition if needed.
- Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light? It can be easy to get distracted with anothers furniture and decor, but it's helpful to look past that as that won't likely be coming with the home. Your agent
- Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Consult your agent to see if it makes sense to put certain contingencies in your offer. Did the seller have the property pre-inspected or appraised? Your agent will help guide you through the contingencies and the pros and cons of including contingencies in your offer. Some common contingencies in our area are:
- Inspection & radon contingencies
- Appraisal & financing contingencies
- Well, water & septic contingencies (if the home has a private well or septic system - common in the country)
- Survey & special-use contingencies (if the property has value in acreage that may need to be verified and surveyed, or used for a specific purpose)
We hope this resource if helpful and not overwhelming. That is why having a professional agent represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact us to see how our team can help!