Buying a house is a significant commitment, and there are a number of potential obstacles and pitfalls that could make finding your dream home feel like more of a nightmare. But if you do your research, take your time, and focus on getting each stage of the house-buying process right, you will end up with a property that suits your tastes and that will provide you with bliss for years to come.
With that goal in mind, here are some top tips for first-time buyers. This guide will help you navigate the house-purchasing process and hopefully save time and money along the way.
Make a budget
The very first thing you need to learn when preparing to buy your first property is how to save for a house so you can purchase your first home without over-spending or having to dip into savings. After all, there’s no point finding your dream home, draining your emergency savings fund to buy it, and then having no money left over to live in it comfortably.
Tally’s helpful in-depth house-saving tips in the provided link are a useful aid as you come up with a dedicated savings plan that will enable you to make your property dreams a reality.
Boost your credit score
While you’re budgeting in order to save up the funds for your first home, it’s a good idea to focus on improving your credit score at the same time. Higher credit can help you get accepted for a mortgage and gain a more favorable interest rate into the bargain.
To improve your credit score, make sure you always pay your bills on time, and use as little of your credit cards as you can – ideally below 30%, or even below 10% if you can manage.
Explore your options
As well as saving up to buy your first property, you should also explore the various mortgage options available to you, to help you find the fairest loan.
You should also consider how long you want your mortgage term to be. Do your research on any available first-time buyer programs you may be eligible for, which could provide additional assistance.
Find the right realtor
Finding a realtor you can trust, who will go the extra mile to help you find the property that’s just right for you and your family, can be a hit-and-miss process. Take your time and do your homework on different local real estate agents. Ask family and friends for references, and read reviews and testimonials online.
When it comes to meeting the realtors themselves, look for the agent that really listens to your needs, rather than one who is more pushy or who seems to have their own agenda. You don’t want to feel pressured when it comes to choosing the right home, and a trustworthy agent will never make you feel that way, nor will they try and gloss over a property’s flaws.
Research your preferred property and neighborhood
When it comes to the property itself, you should take plenty of time to really think about the kind of home you want to purchase. After all, you will probably be living in that property and that location for years, so you need to make sure it’s a good fit, in terms of both your requirements and your budget.
Pinpointing the perfect property can be trickier than you might first think. After all, there are a number of options to choose from, ranging from condos, bungalows, and townhouses to more remote rural properties, and neglected fixer-uppers. Each kind of property will come with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
For instance, an apartment may be more affordable, but you will have shared walls and this could lead to issues with noise as well as perhaps feeling like you don’t have enough privacy. On the other hand, a detached house provides plenty of privacy but could be beyond your price range, unless you opt to take on a ‘project’, which could drain your funds. Of course, if you have the budget for it, you may find that you actually prefer to take on an older property that needs some renovation done, as that way you can really make it your own.
When it comes to choosing the right location, this will depend on your unique requirements. For example, if you have school-age kids, you will probably want to choose a safer, quieter neighborhood, with easy access to schools and parks. If you are child-free, however, you may prefer a more vibrant location, perhaps in the heart of a town or city, which provides a straightforward commute to your place of work.
Finding the ideal neighborhood and the perfect property may seem like a tall order, but if you take your time and do your homework, hopefully you will find a first home that offers the best combination of the two.
Arrange multiple viewings
When you do find a property – perhaps even a few properties – that you really like the look of, try and arrange at least two viewings, to be sure that a particular home is really right for you.
Having more than one viewing gives you the opportunity to spot any potential flaws or advantages that you may miss the first time round. If possible, you should also ask the seller plenty of questions, as they will be able to tell you things about the property that the realtor may not be aware of.
You should also bear in mind that, if you really like a particular home, you can negotiate with the seller regarding the price or any repairs that may need doing. Don’t be shy to haggle; it could be well worth your while.
Order an inspection
Finally, once you have found the property that you feel is right for you, it’s important that you order an inspection to thoroughly check your new home from top to bottom before you commit to buying.
This inspection can detect various potential issues, including any significant structural problems in the floors, ceilings, and walls. The inspector will also check other essential parts of the home, from the insulation and ventilation to the plumbing system and major appliances, to ensure everything is in working order.
If the inspection doesn’t show up anything too worrying, then you can be reassured that you have found a worthy property to serve as your first family home - hopefully for many happy years to come.