Advice for First-Time Home Buyers
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
If you’re in the process of buying your first home, you’re in very new territory. From navigating the mortgage process to choosing the right agent to knowing what criteria to prioritize when looking at homes, the process can get really overwhelming really quickly.
Buying a home is a big deal.
With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re navigating this exciting (and potentially scary, at times) experience:
Don’t be hesitant to shop around for a lender. This is likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make, so don’t treat it lightly. Get at least three quotes to compare rates and fees before deciding on your lender.
Start with a budget (and stick to it!). Go ahead and have a budget in mind. How much can you comfortably afford to pay toward a house each month? Once you have a lender, talk with him or her about your budget so they can help you back into what that means as far as your budget for a home.
Choose the right kind of home in the right kind of neighborhood. You may assume you’re looking for a traditional single-family home, but if you don’t need lots of space or don’t want to deal with the hassle of yard work, perhaps a condo or townhome might be a better choice after all. Also, even if you don’t have children, be sure to consider the school district of the home you’re buying, as that will impact your home’s value when you want to sell.
Ask a lot of questions. Pay attention to details when you are looking at houses. Is there a strange smell? A stain that looks suspicious? Ask about when the roof was last replaced, when the home was built, what amenities the neighborhood offers, what HOA fees are (if applicable), etc. Now is the time to get all the information!
Don’t forget those other expenses. You’ll need cash on hand at closing. You’ll also need to plan on spending money on the moving process. Plus there will be monthly utility bills to plan for, along with property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Make sure you account for these additional costs in your budget.