First Time Home Buyers
Buying a new home is a major step, even for seasoned veterans of the process. However, buying a new home for the first time presents a series of special circumstances and can be decidedly overwhelming to the uninitiated. Before you look at a single home, it helps to familiarize yourself with several key concepts and pieces of advice. Jumping right in might sound like fun, but being a bit educated about how to go about it can make the process go much more smoothly.
All too often, people who are buying their first home rush through the process in their excitement and end up selling themselves far too short. From financing options to finding the right home in the perfect neighborhood, a lot goes into doing things the right way. Taking a deep breath and taking a pragmatic approach to the situation will increase the odds of a successful outcome for everyone involved.
In the interest of getting off on the right foot when buying a home for the first time, we have compiled a list of tips, tricks and bits of advice about doing things the right way. Take these points into consideration, and check out all of the valuable resources on this site, to increase your odds of having a truly seamless, hassle-free home buying experience.
As a first-time home buyer, you should keep the following things in mind before searching for your dream house:
Define Your Goals
Sit down with your partner and decide on the basics of the home you'd like to live in. At minimum, settle on an idea about what kind of house you want - i.e., a colonial or a split-level - and what kind of neighborhood you'd like to live in. Defining these basic goals will make it easier to embark on the rest of your home buying journey.
Get Your Finances in Order
Even if you feel like you have a decent handle on what your overall financial situation is like, it's imperative to sit down and go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. One of the first things that you should do is order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Look everything over carefully to make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises. Mistakes can, and do, happen all the time when it comes to credit reporting issues; the last thing that you want is to discover one when you're trying to get approved for a mortgage.
Talk to Friends, Family and Coworkers
If you have friends, family members or coworkers that live in the area you're interested in, pick their brains for a bit of information about the home buying process there. Better yet, if you know someone who has recently purchased a house in a suitable neighborhood, ask them how they did it. If possible, get referrals to real estate agents, inspectors and others in order to save time and frustration.
Use the Internet
Unlike the old days, there's no need to spend hour upon hour in a library to get at the information that you need. Using reputable sites, get the scoop on things like the real estate market in your area as well as an overview of what prices homes are currently listing and selling at in the area that you're interested in. There is also a plethora of sites out there that give you a snapshot of what any given neighborhood is like, including school district information and basic features.
Look at Homes Online
You can save a lot of time by checking out real estate listings online. This is a great way to acquaint yourself with what is available – and what prices are currently like – without hitting the pavement. In fact, many sites offer virtual tours of listed homes, allowing you to get a real sense for what a home is like. Best of all, perusing these sites can help you become comfortable with the lingo of the world of real estate so that you don't feel like such a fish out of water about things.
Talk to the Pros
Check with as many different mortgage brokers, buyer's agents and real estate agents as possible to find a suitable match. Ask each one what their current specials and recommendations are; be sure to point out that you are a first-time home buyer, so they can point you in the direction of special programs and deals. Cast a wide net in order to reel in as much great advice as possible.
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Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can lift an enormous amount of stress from your shoulders as afirst-time home buyer. By doing that, you can go into your search for a new home with a firm idea about what you can afford. You'll also save a lot of time and expense by approaching the issue from this angle.
Educate Yourself about the Home Buying Process
There's a lot to learn about the home buying process, from special industry terms to financial intricacies. Do a bit of research and familiarize yourself with the process so that you have an inkling about what to expect. Doing so will demystify the process and make it a lot less intimidating. Find easy-to-read blogs, articles and how-to books that will walk you through the various steps in a broad yet comprehensible way.
Learn about Different Home Loan Products
The days of one-size-fits-all mortgages are long gone. Today, there are more options than ever before when it comes to getting financing for a new home. Read up on the different products that are available these days, from the different lengths and repayment periods to different interest rate terms. Find out which products are best for which situations, and narrow down which scenario seems the most feasible for you.
Every person's first time home buying experience is different; by keeping these key points in mind, though, you can customize your own so that it's as smooth and pain-free as possible.
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