Buying a home for the first time
It’s a big step, both exciting and stressful, and probably the largest single expense most people ever undertake: buying a home.
When the decision to buy is made, there are many other decisions to go over. Which neighborhood, how many rooms and bedrooms, and even the style of home are jotted down on the wish list. Looking through online listings, it’s fun to be able to discount a home on paint color alone or absolutely fall in love with a wraparound porch. It can be exhilarating thumbing through house after house after house.
There are things to consider, however, when buying a home for the first time. Obviously, how much can you afford to spend is the big question – but don’t just look at the mortgage itself. Take into account other expenses as well. If you’re paying $1,600 a month for rent, don’t use that as your baseline because it may include utilities, maintenance, and even cable or internet. Those costs aren’t covered in a mortgage. Make a detailed list of all expenses to get a better idea of what the actual cost of a home will be.
How to calculate a mortgage you will qualify for…
Now that you have a better idea of what it will cost, find out what size of mortgage you will qualify for. There are plenty of options for first-time homebuyers, and as hard as it may be, don’t start looking at homes until you know your bottom line. Take time to find that bottom line, too – you don’t buy the first car (or shoes for that matter) you see. Research your choices to get the most mortgage for your money.
Something else to think about when securing a mortgage is the down payment. Certainly, being able to put 20 percent down on a home is advantageous, but not if it cripples your savings. Leaving something in the bank will help with any “rainy day” events down the road.
Which leads to the next point – don’t plan on financing any other big purchases before the keys are in your hand. A final credit report will be pulled before the closing to make sure nothing has changed in the credit history that could affect the deal. Wait until everything is signed, sealed and delivered before financing any large expense such as furniture.
Finding a reputable real estate agent
With your pre-qualification in hand, it probably makes sense to find a reputable real estate agent to help you navigate the ins and outs of home buying, especially as a first timer. And just as you researched your mortgage, it doesn’t hurt to do the same for an agent. Finding a reputable, experienced real estate agent will help in the long run. Ask friends or family for referrals and it doesn’t hurt to ask for references from the agent, too. No one ever wishes they had less information to work with.
Buying a home should be great fun, and it is. The feeling of freedom, and privacy, a home provides is unmatched for many of us. But it doesn’t hurt to do a little bit of homework before finding the right home.
Interested in buying your first home? Rowena C. Lusby is a proven industry leader, consistently ranking at the very top of her peers and number one within her company. With 30 years of sales, marketing and negotiating experience, Rowena is the one to call for any of your real estate needs or questions. Contact Rowena today!