Buying a home for the first time can be one of life’s most exciting milestones. However, there are several things that first-time homebuyers should be aware of before diving into their search for the perfect residence.
1) Know Your Budget
What are you comfortable paying for your monthly house payment? Keep in mind that a payment includes the principal, interest, taxes, homeowner’s insurance, possible mortgage insurance, and Home Owner’s Association fees. Closing costs and other fees can also add up when buying a home, so make sure these are factored into your budget.
2) Organize Your Documents
Some of the needed paperwork includes: the last two years tax returns and W2s, recent paystubs, all pages of the last two months of bank statements, and contact information for landlords for the last two years.
3) Get Pre-Qualified
In many cases, prospective first-time homebuyers will not even be shown a home without a prequalified loan offer letter in hand. Real estate agents are busy and want to make sure that you are serious as a prospective buyer. A prequalification letter is also a great way to know how much you may qualify for as you start your search and may help make the underwriting process smoother.
4) Find a Real Estate Agent
A Real Estate Agent will be with you throughout your entire homebuying journey, so first-time buyers will want to make sure that they are the right fit with their agent. Find someone who is a local expert, who understands your needs and wants, and who will be your advocate.
5) Know Your Wants
Is square-footage important to you? How about the neighborhood? Having a defined list of wants and needs before you start looking for homes will keep your search on track.
6) Scrutinize Each House
Try to look past the allure of any attractive staging for imperfections in the home. Cracked walls, wonky floors, and exposed wiring could be signs that there are larger issues with the property.
7) Learn About the Community
Even if you do not have kids, being in an area with good schools will help with the resale value of the home. Proximity to shopping, dining, and recreation areas can also both be convenient and help with property value.
8) Be Persistent
The average buyer looks at around 20 homes before finding the right one, so do not get discouraged. The search can be long, but ultimately rewarding.
9) Compare Each Home
Look back at your list of wants and needs. Does the home you just toured check some of those boxes? All the boxes? Make sure that you are getting the house that fits you!
10) Watch Your Credit
Once you have been pre-qualified, keep making your normal payments, but do not apply for new credit or increase debts. Talk to your Loan Officer before doing anything that will affect your credit.
Ready to get started? Find a Loan Officer in your area who can help you get the ball rolling on buying your first home! We’re here for you every step of the way.
At Peoples Mortgage, it’s all about the people.