Getting married is such an exciting time, and so much effort and planning go into making the big day special and unique. But, it’s good to look beyond the wedding to your life together. Take a bit of the mystery out of buying a home with our first time home buyer tips as you start your new life.
If you are thinking about purchasing a home, there are a lot of questions to answer. Where will you buy a home? What is your budget? What realtor will you choose? The questions are a lot like wedding planning ones! Take a bit of our first time home buying 101 advice as you look towards your potential purchase.
This first time home buyer guide is an updated repost of an article by Leisel Lancaster.
First Time Home Buyer Tips
Research First Time Home Buyer Programs
When buying a home for the first time, you need to meet with a lender to find out exactly how much you can afford. You don’t want to fall in love with a home that is out of your price range. The lender will check your credit score.
They may have some suggestions as to how you will be able to afford more house for your money. A bank can also offer tips on how to clean up your credit score or pay off some debt before you start looking. It’s a great way to set yourself up for success before falling in love with a home.
Many couples also ask about how to qualify. First time home buyer loans with zero down are often available. For example, your banker can help you weigh those options for lessening or even eliminating a down payment. If you can afford – or skip – that initial first time home buyer down payment, owning a home can often be less expensive than renting. Be sure to explore your options!
Be Realistic in Buying a Home for the First Time
Once you know your price range, contact a realtor and let the agent know what kind of things you are looking for in a home. Think about how many bedrooms and baths you prefer, if you desire a specific area of town, and what kind of amenities you want nearby.
If you are planning on having children soon you might want to consider the school district and make sure you have enough room or an extra bedroom that could be a baby room. Even if you aren’t planning, sometimes surprises happen. Just planning for the possibility of growth is always a good idea!
That being said, don’t buy more than you can afford. Discuss and make a list of your “musts” with your spouse-to-be, and be armed with good decision-making skills.
Don’t Be Afraid of a Diamond in the Rough
Consider whether or not you would be interested in doing some updating to a home or if you want a “move-in ready” home. Think about appliances you value, like a dishwasher, and pay attention to the appliances that are offered in the home you are interested in. It’s good to read the fine print in a listing!
Be willing to potentially sacrifice a few things and spend a weekend here or there doing some DIY projects. Having an open mind will enable you to make a few adjustments to your list based on what you find.
Wait for “The One”
Don’t be discouraged once you start looking for a home and you do not find “the one” the first or second time you meet with your realtor. After all, how long did it take you to find Mr. Right? This is a big purchase and a big commitment.
It can take a while for you to find that perfect place for you to call home. Keep an open mind; you may be surprised at what you think you will like and what you will actually love. The search will be fun to do together!
Be Aware of Buyer Beware
Once you do find the home of your dreams DO NOT waive the home inspection. Though a home inspection can generally cost between $300- $400, this is a small price to pay in making an informed decision on such a big purchase.
The inspection can also be a very valuable tool in helping you get to know the home you are about to purchase. Do not expect the home to be in perfect condition. All resale homes have wear and tear due to normal use, just like your car. They require maintenance…that is one of the great responsibilities of homeownership.
A home inspector can point out issues that have happened in the past or that may arise in the near future. Again, this will help you make an informed decision about the home you are about to purchase. If there is too much work needed for the home to be in good condition, do not be afraid to negotiate.
Homeownership Comes at a Cost
Homeownership will have an immediate impact on your finances. When looking at a home or townhome there are many things to consider. What kind of yard maintenance is required? Will you need a lawnmower? Are a washer and dryer included?
Is the heat pump newer, or is it running on borrowed time? Will you need to replace any appliances in the near future? Does the home need immediate repairs? Do you plan to do immediate renovations? Are you planning on painting or re-flooring?
Just be aware that when you rent, your landlord is responsible for expenses, such as leaky sinks, broken appliances, outdoor maintenance…etc. However, when you own the house, those extra expenses are yours to absorb. Be sure to include the “what ifs” in your budget.
Final First Time Home Buyer Tips
Finding the perfect home can take time. A realtor can do most of the legwork for you, and you can enjoy the home buying process.
Whether buying a house is a possibility right now or if it is something that will happen in the future, these helpful tips will point you in the right direction.