Are you getting ready to stop renting and to buy a home for the first time? That’s fantastic news! You will no doubt love being a homeowner and enjoying all the freedom that comes with owning your own property; however, you definitely need to do your homework before you just pick a house.
Think about your dream home for a minute. What does it look like? Where is it located? What about your dream community? What is it like? These are actually very serious questions to consider before you go out there and try to find a home. But where do you start?
Below are 10 tips outlined to help you get started and help you along your way to finding your very first home!
1. Know Your Credit Score – Before you do anything else, check your credit score! This is the most important factor in getting your mortgage qualifications assessed. Lenders will connect your credit score to the interest rate you will have to pay, so ideally a score between 720 and 800 is what you should aspire to have in order to pay the lowest mortgage rates. If your score is 620 or below, you might not even qualify for mortgage at all until you improve your score.
2. Set a Budget – When it comes to buying a home, a budget is essential. It will be your guideline to what you can and cannot afford, and it will help keep your searches in check. Create an easy budget for yourself with income and spending to figure out how much you want to spend on house payments, and definitely set it before you go house hunting. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a house that’s way out of your budget range.
3. Stop Spending and Start Saving – As soon as you set your budget and have figured out how much your potential mortgage payments will be, start saving the difference between that payment and your current rent every month. This will help you save money and will help you get more accommodated with paying higher payment amounts.
4. Find a Lender – Before you start looking at houses, get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan! Make sure that you ask your lender about all the different loan options and figure out an idea of how much money you’d need for a down payment and for closing costs.
5. Find a Trustworthy Realtor – There’s nothing more vital to buying your first home than finding a reputable realtor. This realtor should be experienced, knowledgeable, and familiar with where you want to live. You will need someone who will be reliable in representing your interests during times of negotiation – and that’s what we do!
6. Nail Down Your Top Priorities – We know that there are a lot of things on your first house wish list, but sometimes you won’t be able to afford or find all that you want with your first home. Time to make some compromises! Ask yourself, “Is it more important to live in a particular type of home or in a particular section of town?” You will need to hone in on your top priorities before you can discern for yourself what you truly want.
7. Select Your Desired Neighborhood – Remember in your house searches that some neighborhoods hold onto their value more than others if the housing market is rocky. You should work with your realtor to find a neighborhood that meets your needs and that will keep you happy and make you feel safe. Your safety is of utmost importance, so please choose wisely before settling!
8. Make an Offer – Found a home you love and adore and simply can’t live without? Time to make an offer! Don’t place your offer at too low of an amount, though; many sellers are willing to negotiate, but many others simply won’t. Have your realtor walk you through the process so that you can be assured that you will receive fair treatment.
9. Get It Inspected – This is one of the most important items on this list. Never, ever, EVER buy a home without an inspection! A professional home inspection will help identify the weak spots and flaws in the home and will help identify which systems and appliances will need to be replaced.
10. Seal the Deal – Congratulations! The contract is signed! After the contract is signed, be sure to be in frequent contact with your realtor and your lender to make sure your financing is taken care of. A good realtor will keep a checklist handy to ensure that everything is completed in time for settlement.
Are you ready to find your first home? Then give us a call at (618) 791-5024 or at (618) 791-9298, and we can help you find the best house out there for you! Visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com to see all of the services we provide!