Buying a home for the first time can be intimidating. In order to steer clear of confusion, here are a few pointers for those looking to buy their first house.
1. Attend a First-Time Homebuyers’ Seminar and Program
A first time homebuyers’ seminar or programs helps teach you how to purchase and maintain a home. They are some of the first steps to buying a home. Look for a seminar that is free and open to the public and includes information about first mortgage programs, down payment assistance, and other loan programs. Some seminars are even accepted by affordable housing loan programs as meeting or exceeding educational requirements. Online classes are also available.
2. Know Your Finances
A mortgage payment will change your entire budget. A first-time homebuyer should sit down with his or her bills and look seriously at the average monthly expenditures. Take a hard look at what you’re spending your money on; everything from your groceries bills to your dry cleaning bill. Don’t include any current rent. Then, figure out what you have left after you pay all of those bills. That’s what you’ll have left to spend on your monthly mortgage and home expenses. Don’t forget all of the new home-related expenses such as insurance, new or higher utility bills, and taxes.
3. Know Your Needs and Wants
Knowing what you really need can help narrow your search for a new home. Create a checklist of your needs and wants. Don’t forget to include things such as the neighborhood, commute, school system and even distance from things to do. After viewing different houses, keep a list of what you liked and didn’t like.
4. Look into Mortgage Options and Pre-Approval
Think about your long-term plan for the house when you’re evaluating your mortgage options. You might never plan to buy another home or you may see it as a starter property. A 30-year mortgage might fit the forever house while an adjustable rate mortgage is better suited for the temporary move. Remember that different banks may be able to give you different interest rates or different terms. Pre-approval helps ease the process of making an offer and getting a mortgage. Also, getting pre-qualified for a loan is a great way to know your budget for buying the new house.
5. Get a Home Inspection
A home inspection is a great way to find out what might be hiding in the walls or underneath the floorboards before you finalize a sale. Keep in mind that some states license or certify home inspectors while others don’t. If your state does require a licensed inspector, check with associations such as the American Society of Home Inspectors and the National Association of Home Inspectors. They require that members abide by certain standards and a set of ethics. This helps secure a qualified inspector.
If you have any questions or need any more advice, call me at 770.654.8972. I’d be glad to help you find your perfect first home.