So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge. You have dreamt about this day for most of your adult life, maybe even longer, and you are so excited you don’t know what to do first. Buying your first home is an exciting and very daunting prospect, so how do you go about it? What are the most important things to know, especially in today’s housing market? Should you hire a real estate agent or just look on your own. Do you really need a real estate appraiser when you’re buying real estate, is there any reputable mortgage lenders out there anymore? You probably have more question than you realized you would about what to do when you are buying your first house.
The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly what area in the housing market you want to live in. You might be able to do this without the help of a real estate agent, but if you are completely confused, you can seek out their guidance. Real estate agents can give you all kinds of information about the different areas you are thinking about buying in like the crime rate, the school system and more. The next step may be to get an appraiser involved so that they can research the value of the homes in the different areas you are looking in. This will help give you an idea of the neighborhoods you can afford and help narrow down your search.
Good real estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and arrange to show only those homes that fit your particular parameters. Your agent should preview homes before showing them to you as well. Again, get an appraiser involved so that you know the true market value of the homes in each particular housing market. This will help when you seek out your loan with a mortgage lender as well. In fact, pretty much all mortgage lenders demand an appraisal, so this will just put you ahead of the game.
Ok this next tip may sound a little silly, but hey, it’s got science on its side. Studies actually show that your memory dramatically improves after consumption of carbs and slows upon consuming sugar. Can you imagine what an incredible waste of time it would be to schlep your family around to see 20 homes and only really remember two of them? I say it couldn’t hurt so why not try it. And speaking of seeing upwards of 20 pieces of real estate a day, don’t do it! I know buying a home for the first time is terrifying and you think the more you look at the more sure you’ll be of your decision. Well, this kind of thinking can cause you to lose your dream home. I’m not saying buy the first thing you see, but if you find a house that meets all of your qualifications, the price is right, the mortgage company will give you the loan and your appraiser says it’s worth what it’s selling for, grab that puppy up. If you don’t buy that home, the next guy will, trust me.
Pay attention to the home’s surroundings. What is next door? Do 2-story homes tower over your single story? Do you like the location? Is it near a park or a power plant? Immediately after leaving, rate each home on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Keeping a list like this will help narrow down your choices and shorten the amount of time you are traipsing around the maze of the housing market. Take pictures while you’re at it, this helps the real estate agent evaluate the home as well as the real estate appraiser. If you give the appraiser enough pertinent information, they may be able to do comparable (comp) checks for you and email them to you.
Finally, make a top two list and go see them all a second or maybe third time, in order to really solidify your choice for yourself. After touring homes for a few days, you will probably instinctively know which one or two homes you would like to buy. Ask to see them again. You will see them with different eyes and notice elements that were overlooked the first go-around.