Buying your first home is like interviewing for your first job. Once you’ve made it through the first interview, you have a better idea of what to expect for the next. You may even pick up some savvy tricks and tips that will make the next encounter more rewarding. First-time homebuyers can shorten their learning curve with these four helpful home buying tips.
1. Get Your Financial House in Order
Today’s first-time homebuyers face stiff credit requirements. Before the hunt for the ideal home can begin, it’s essential to get your financial house in order. That process starts with a careful examination of credit reports and credit scores. The credit reports should be clear of any defaults. A strong credit score will not only make it easier to secure a home loan but will help ensure that you get the best interest rate as well. Paying off recurring bills may improve your rating.
Creditors look for stability as well. Prospective homebuyers should remain in one job for at least a year before thinking about buying a new home.
2. Tally Up Expenses
The search for a new home typically begins with calculations about the down payment and monthly mortgage payments, but other expenses need to be examined as well before taking the homeownership plunge. The list of new expenses that new homeowners will incur begins with property taxes, home insurance and monthly homeowner association fees.
Utility bills are typically higher for owners than renters as well. Protecting the value of the home with regular upkeep means considering maintenance costs for all aspects of the home, from caring for the lawn and landscape to servicing air-conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems.
3. Shop Real Estate Agents
Buying a home is complicated enough without having to undertake the entire process alone. Most experts recommend that first-time buyers take advantage of the services that realtors offer. When it comes to choosing a real estate agent, personality matters. It’s important to find an agent who is on the same wave length, someone who communicates well and understands the homebuyer’s expectations.
Fortunately, according to a National Association of Realtors survey, two-thirds of homebuyers report that they are so satisfied with their realtors that they would use the same realtor again in the future.
4. Shop Neighborhoods
Every homebuyer has a list of “must have” features that they want in a new home. Homebuyers can simplify their search by sticking to neighborhoods that are likely to have those features. While it’s important to remain open to compromise, people should never settle for a home that will make them miserable because it lacks certain features. It’s a good idea to start monitoring home sales in potential neighborhoods weeks or months before actually making bids. This gives you a clearer notion of property values.
As important as it is for first-time buyers to carefully plan and prepare for what will likely be the largest financial investment of their lives, it’s important to take some joy from the experience as well. The best home-buying tip may be to keep the end goal clearly in your sight: owning a place to call home.
Miami Investment specializes in buying real estate in Miami and surrounding areas. In addition to buying, they also sell and rent real estate.