In 13 years of marriage, Hubs and I have purchased four different homes, sold three, and are currently deciding whether or not to start the hunt again! Since Hubs is a builder by trade, we’ve always sought out fixer-uppers and left these homes much nicer than we found them. Just doing these little “flips” and profiting each time allowed us to pay off our mortgage entirely last year!
Since this isn’t our first rodeo, I thought I’d share some tips for first-time home buyers
10 Tips for Buying Your First Home
- Know the Area: You may come across a gorgeous home at what you think is an amazing price only to find out after you move in that there is a high crime rate or that the school system in the area is abysmal
- Get Your Finances in Order: Figure out how much you can put down on your home. The more you’re able to put down, the less your monthly mortgage payment will be.
- Get Your Financing in Order: This sounds similar to finances, but it’s a world apart. Getting your financing in order is all about finding a lender and getting the type of loan that best suits you. When your financing is in order, you’re prepared to make an offer quickly on the home you choose.
- Know the Market: This is one of the biggest home buying 101 points to remember. Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? The state of the market can have a drastic effect on your bidding.
- Bid Wisely: You don’t want to overpay for a home. At the same time, you don’t want to insult the seller either. Bid wisely, but bid for the best deal.
- Always Get a Home Inspection: Usually the buyer is responsible for this, and it can be tempting to forego the cost. BUT if you don’t get an inspection, you have no recourse should you discover that something was in disrepair at the time of purchase.
- Always Get a Termite Inspection: Just substitute the words “termite inspection” for “home inspection” in number 3. They are both so important.
- Never Take Problems at Face Value: This follows along with home inspections and termite inspections. If you see a superficial issue with moisture or cracking, never assume it’s only superficial. A good home inspector will investigate further to ensure nothing horrible is going on behind the scenes.
- Negotiate Closing Costs: Don’t just take the first thing a seller throws at you. Closing costs can be, well, costly, and the seller will most likely try to get you to pay them. Be sure to negotiate on this point.
- Get a Realtor: This is absolutely the most important tip in this entire post. While we may be seasoned home buyers and DIYers, we never walk through the home-buying process without a Realtor.
It’s true that a Realtor can help find your dream home (and save you a lot of time narrowing down the search,) but they offer so much more throughout the whole process!
Like what? Let me answer that with a few more questions:
How much do you know about local home lenders? Should you go to a bank instead for pre-approval? Are you going with an FHA, Conventional, or other type of loan? Will that particular loan mean certain criteria about the house itself has to be met before you can close on the house? Who is the most trustworthy home inspector in the area? Is it your responsibility to obtain a termite letter? Who will you hire for that separate inspection? How familiar are you with local attorney’s offices? Do you know what to expect during the closing process at the attorney’s office? (Hint: More paperwork than you can imagine.)
Are you confident that your bid reflects market value? Are you insulting the sellers with your offer potentially causing them to end their dealings with you (we’ve done this with potential buyers while selling homes ourselves!) How do you plan to negotiate closing costs?
If you’re uncertain about the answers to any of these questions, consider using a Realtor. We always have and likely always will.
Home Buying 101 – Be Smart and You’ll Be Okay
There are two main takeaways from this post: Get a Realtor and be smart.
Don’t jump on the first property you see (unless of course, it’s 100% everything you’re looking for) and don’t go it alone! Having a Realtor by your side just makes sense. They can help you in every aspect of the home buying process.