1. Always work with an agent.
At absolutely no cost to you, you can have a real estate professional represent your interests in the home buying process. An agent will serve as your own personal real estate expert, and this can really make a difference as a first-time home buyer.
It is always nice to have someone on your side, and it’s even better if they are able to explain to you the home buying process in a way that you might not be able to understand yourself. Working with an agent will also give you access to thousands of more homes that you otherwise may not have known to be out there.
All in all, partnering with a real estate agent has countless advantages that can only benefit you. And don’t forget, as a buyer, working with an agent is FREE!
2. Always know what you can realistically afford.
Far too often, people will begin their housing search without being aware of how much they can actually afford. Luckily, getting pre-qualified is easy and can save you a TON of time!
Most real estate agents will ask you if you’ve been pre-qualified as well, so get a head start and find out what you qualify for before looking at homes.
Once you know exactly what your price range is, it will make it much simpler to narrow down your housing search.
3. Determine your wants from your needs.
When you are looking for your first home, it’s really important that you manage your expectations and figure out the differences between your wants and your needs.
I suggest making a list for yourself and to give to your real estate agent of everything that you MUST have in your new home and another list of things that you would LIKE to have. This not only helps your agent, but it helps you determine what to look out for when searching for that dream home.
PRO TIP: If you find a house that is almost perfect but not quite, don’t rule it out! Many times, it can be easier (and cheaper) to find a home that is pretty great and then put some money towards the changes that make it perfect for you.
4. Don’t forget about closing costs!
Many people already know about saving for a down payment, but don’t forget that you will also be responsible for paying closing costs in order to finish the transaction.
These costs include aspects like the appraisal, home inspection, homeowner’s insurance, and so on. On average, it is safe to expect to pay 3-4% of the purchase price of the home.
5. Once you’ve purchased your new home, don’t forget about maintenance!
After you’ve worked so hard to be able to purchase your first home, it’s crucial that you learn and remember the ways in which your home needs to be cared for.
Small things, like changing your air filters, can be the difference from a well-functioning HVAC system and a costly repair.
Make sure you do your research on what you need to do in order to upkeep your home, so when the time comes and you want to sell, you may do so with little to no problems.