You have a stable job, a down payment saved, and are ready to purchase your first home. But where do you begin? Buying a home can be overwhelming because of the unfamiliar process. Do you start online or interview potential real estate agents? Should you start by driving through your ideal neighborhood or attend open houses? Home buying is much easier when you have the guidance from a professional to show you where to start and what to do next. Here is some essential first time home buyer advice to get you started on your journey to home ownership.
Get your financial house in order.
Before perusing homes online, driving through potential neighborhoods, or meeting with a real estate professional, you must have a clear understanding of what price range you can buy. This is the biggest piece of first time home buyer advice, as everything else is based on your budget. It would be heartbreaking to find your dream home and then discover you cannot get the loan approved.
Start with a credit check, complete an application through a lender, and verify down payment requirements. Also consider your personal budget, rather than solely relying on the lender’s price range recommendations. When you plan the financial side first, the rest of the process will be faster and easier.
Carefully choose your loan.
While interest rates are very close across lenders, not all loans are the same. Some require bigger down payments, more assets on hand, or stricter inspections. You will choose either a variable or fixed rate based on how long you plan to live in the home. Older homes needing more repairs may require a different loan that accommodates improvements, as opposed to a move-in ready home. As a first time home buyer this process may seem foreign to you. Take your time and make sure you understand the elements of each decision.
This is another critical piece of first time home buyer advice. When the cost of home ownership strains the budget each month, it impacts your quality of life. You do not want to struggle to pay for vacations, children’s sports programs, or hobbies you enjoy. Home ownership includes more than the mortgage payment. Also calculate taxes, insurance, homeowner’s association costs, maintenance and repairs for the next decade.
Set realistic expectations.
Set your expectations based on your given price range. You will not get everything you dream of, but that doesn’t mean it can’t become your dream home. Choose upgrades and amenities wisely to stay within your required budget.
Read the final contract before closing.
A home is the biggest asset you will likely ever buy. Understanding the terms of the loan is an important part of home ownership. The lender can email you documents before closing, giving you time to read over the paperwork and ask questions. You will be more comfortable the day of closing if you understand the contract.
Find an Exceptional Home Builder
Home ownership is extremely rewarding. Taking the above steps to prepare for the purchase of your first home will help you get the assistance needed and create a smooth buying process. Purchasing from an experienced home builder with an outstanding track record provides additional security in your investment. With over 50 years of experience building homes in the Triad, NC area, Shugart Homes provides a full range of home options and is here to help first time home buyers throughout the process.