Buying your first home can be exciting, but also intimidating. New buyers face a big financial commitment, and may be overwhelmed by the amount of information they must absorb.
When shopping for a home, remember to consider the following things to help you make an informed purchase that suits your lifestyle and budget.
First-time home buyers are often overwhelmed by the amount of new information they are faced with when buying a home. To help them narrow down their options, it is helpful to sit down and create a list of wants and needs for their new home.
This list should include basic desires, like size and neighborhood, as well as more specific factors, such as a yard that is large enough for a dog or a kitchen equipped with durable appliances. Using this list will allow you to shop for homes that more closely match your needs and budget.
It’s also important to research a neighborhood before making an offer. Drive through the area at different times of day to get a feel for noise levels, and take note of how well-maintained the homes are.
You’ll need to determine how much house you can afford and your lifestyle requirements. Buying more house than you need can result in higher mortgage payments, property taxes, utility bills, insurance, and maintenance costs.
Avoid being wowed by extra-large homes with rooms you won’t use, such as a media room or home gym. They may appeal to your sense of status but will likely be a drain on your finances.
Look for a small house that will require smaller renovation projects and less ongoing maintenance. A good rule of thumb is to budget for about 1% of the home’s purchase price for repairs, renovations, and upgrades per year. A smaller home will also be easier to sell. This can be especially important if you plan on selling your first home in the future.
Every homebuyer has a list of things they’d like to have in their new house, such as extra bedrooms for family members or a backyard suited for pets. Creating a list of priorities will help you narrow your search and avoid stress later in the process.
If you’re worried about getting stuck with a home you don’t love, consider negotiating contingencies that would allow you to walk away from a deal if the home doesn’t meet your criteria. For example, you could include a contingency that requires a home inspection and mortgage approval before the purchase is finalized.
A good realtor will guide you through this process and make sure your expectations are reasonable. They’ll also offer you guidance on the best financing options available for your situation.
When you’re ready to start the homebuying process, it helps to have a clear idea of what your wants and needs are. This will allow you to narrow down a list of homes and ensure that your real estate agent can filter properties based on your parameters. The important thing to remember is that there are both tangible and intangible amenities when it comes to buying a home.
For example, most first-time buyers will want more living space. They are often moving from cramped apartments, and they’ll likely prioritize open floor plans. This will help them feel more comfortable in their new home. Likewise, they’ll likely prefer a home with plenty of storage spaces. Buyers tend to pay a premium for a property with these types of amenities.
If you’re a first-time buyer, you can take advantage of tax breaks and federally backed loans. You may also qualify for seller concessions that help pay for closing costs, like appraisal or attorney fees.
It’s important to know what you can afford before house shopping. Online mortgage calculators can help you figure that out, but it’s best to talk with lenders too — they can explain what maximum mortgage amount is realistic given your income and other debt.
It’s also a good idea to enlist the help of an exclusive buyer’s agent, who works for you, rather than representing the seller’s interests. They have the expertise to navigate a complex real estate market and ensure you make the best purchase possible. A knowledgeable professional can save you time, money and stress.
To really alleviate stress, a home warranty will take away a lot of the stress of normal wear and tear from your home appliances. Consider a warranty so that when something does need replacing or repairing, the stress of that process will be negated by a warranty that will save time and money. Don’t overlook issues such as the dryer not heating or the dishwasher not working properly. Every detail in purchasing a home is different and equally important.