Buying your first home can cause a number of emotions from being scared to being overjoyed. It’s a difficult process and there are many steps involved from choosing a real estate agent to securing financing. Here are a few tips to make buying your first home a more enjoyable experience:
Hire A Real Estate Agent
Your first step to buying your a home should be to hire a real estate agent. A real estate agent can help guide you through the process with their expertise. They have valuable market data and should know the area where you want to purchase.
Make sure you choose a buyer’s agent as a buyer’s agent will be working for you and not the seller. If you work with the sellers agent, keep in mind they have a fiduciary duty to get the best deal for their seller which could leave you on the short end of the stick.
When working with a buyer’s agent there are no upfront costs which should give you no reason not to work with an agent. Commissions are paid by the seller and will already be added to the listing price of the home. Some people might tell you that as a buyer you don’t pay commission but that’s not true as it’s already added to the price of the home.
If you have troubles finding an agent you can trust, talk to family and friends about agents they’ve used in the past. Interview each agent until you find one you feel comfortable with. One thing you should know is not all agents are the same. Be sure to ask a lot of questions about the market and how well they communicate as communication is key in a real estate transaction.
Get Pre-Qualified For A Loan
You can’t buy a home unless you get financing so don’t get too excited until you know you have the means to purchase. Many first time home buyers will go looking at homes before they talk to a mortgage professional and find out they don’t qualify to buy. Finding the perfect home and later finding out you can’t buy it can be devastating.
The best way to know what you can buy is to get pre-qualified. The prequalification process is pretty simple, and shouldn’t take longer than a couple hours. Ask your real estate agent if they know some good lenders and shop around. Be careful however, just because a lender is cheap doesn’t mean they can close a loan on time.
The lending process has changed dramatically over the last couple years making it more difficult to get a transaction closed. Don’t take choosing a lender lightly, it can mean closing a deal or not. A good lender should have great communication skills and knowledge of the current lending laws. Also, a lender with in house underwriting is a huge plus.
Finding A Home
Finding a home should be the best part of the home buying process. Shopping for a home can be fun, and you shouldn’t have to settle for something you don’t like. You have a lot of options when searching and I would recommend you try them all out.
Start your search online. There are a ton of real estate websites out there so you shouldn’t have a problem with this option. However, finding a home online is just the first step as online pictures can be deceiving. Some pictures will show the home better than it really is and other photos will look horrible, yet the home might be fantastic. You never know until you see it in person.
Check out some open houses. Open houses are a great way to start your home search especially if you don’t have an agent yet. If you like an agent sitting at an open house don’t hesitate to ask them to show you some more homes. Real estate agents can show you all homes listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).