Last week we discussed tips for the first time home buyers. Today I want to discuss the steps you can take to finding your first home. LONG READ ALERT!!
1. Research before you look– It is very important that you do your OWN research before you decide to purchase. Research the location, area and type of home you may want. What is the average sales price for the area desired? A few sites that you can do a home search:
- (our site) www.centricrealestategroup.com
- Zillow.com – Great site for searching (Be careful because some homes are already under contract or sold. Expired listings are used to get prospective buyers to call the agents listed on the page – agents pay for these leads) which is great ONLY if you DO NOT already have an agent. If you have an agent, please contact your agent with the property address and have them get info on the home.
2. Be realistic– If you are shopping for a $400,000 home (on a $50,000 income) and unsure of your buying power you are NOT being realistic. We call this, “Champagne taste on a Beer budget.” You should only start looking at homes when you know ‘How Much House You Can Buy’. It is easy to get caught up in falling in love with something that you simply can not afford.
3. Get your finances in order– Contact your banking institution or a mortgage lender to advise you of where you stand. You will need to know what your credit score is and if your credit will allow you to purchase a home. You will also need to know what your debt to income ratio is (how much house can you buy?) and an estimated mortgage payment. There are so many pre-requisites to this stage, but speaking with a licensed broker or lending institution can help you most during this phase.
4. Don’t ask too many people’s opinion – Too many people’s opinion can cloud your judgement and have you confused and indecisive. The majority of first-time buyers go through this phase. One or two opinions from your mentor or close family member is fine but be careful not to listen to too many individuals. I would also not share too much information about your home buying process until you know yourself what you are doing. NOT EVERYONE WILL BE HAPPY FOR YOU! Sad but true.
5. Decide your moving timeline– Looking for a home 60-90 days out is standard. Anything longer than that (unless it is new construction) could be a problem simply because sellers do not want to wait more than 60-90 days for a closing. Of course there could be special stipulations involved but you do not want to search too far out for a home. (This does not include Tip# 1, the research step).
6. Think long-term– Purchasing a home is one of the biggest steps you will take in your lifetime (besides having a child). Think about what characteristics you are looking for in a home;
- Can you see your family living there?
- Can you start a family there?
- How is the commute to work?
- Resale value – Relocating for work or personal
**These are some of the things you may want to think about
7. Insist on a home inspection– A home inspection will identify any hidden defects on the home. You should ALWAYS have a home inspection done. You can request the seller to make repairs on the home prior to closing and moving in. If the home is being sold “AS IS“, you should still have a home inspection done so that you are aware of any issues going into the home. If an inspection is NOT DONE, you are likely to miss any defeats, find them when you have already moved in and it then becomes too late to request any repairs or funds for repairs. You have inherited the defects and must come out-of-pocket to make the repairs yourself.
8. Get help from a Realtor – Most importantly – HIRE A PROFESSIONAL – It is very important to have a licensed professional walk you through the process. Buying a home is more than seeing a pretty home and putting it under contract. There are several steps involved and if not done correctly, could have you locked into something you were not prepared for, legal ramifications could come about if you do not fulfill your duty to purchase or you could end up with a dump! There will be contracts, appraisals, inspections and so many other aspects involved and a licensed realtor can assist you with that.
**BONUS – If during your home search process you still have questions such as:
- Why do I want to buy a home?
- What’s important for my future?
- How can I stay focus during the home buying process?
- How can I keep everything organized and in one place?
- or screaming, “It’s too much information to remember!!!”
You need a Milestone Manager Planner to guide you during your journey to home-ownership –whether you are a first, second or third time homeowner, staying organized is essential. The Milestone Manager Planner is simple, chic and easy to navigate. It’s something that we created to help out our customers needing guidance.
**If you or someone that you know is in the market to buy or sell real estate, our professionals would love to assist. You can reach us at 1-866-56-CENTRIC or access free buyer and seller resources at centricrealestategroup.com.
Good Luck on your home buying process!