First-Time Homebuyer Tips

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7 Things To Know Before You Buy Your First Home

Buying a home for the first time is a major milestone in anyone’s life. After all, a home is the most expensive purchase most people ever make. A smart home purchase is an investment that can last a lifetime—even longer if you pass your home on to your children.

Your new home represents years of dreaming and saving, but the real estate process can be confusing to first-time buyers. Get a jump on the market with these seven lessons to learn before you buy your first home.

A great realtor is priceless

First-time homebuyers have everything to gain by working with a realtor. A licensed realtor knows the ins and outs of the real estate game. You may be tempted to represent yourself, but don’t discount a realtor’s knowledge and experience. A great realtor should be able to fully explain the entire home buying process, comfortably walking you through everything from viewing a listing to picking up the keys to your first home.

Buying a home can be confusing when you’ve never done it before, but your realtor has gone through the process many times. They can reassure you during tense moments, as well as let you know when something feels off. Your realtor also has a valuable network of contacts. When you choose a great realtor, you can lean on them to recommend inspectors, mortgage brokers, moving companies, contractors, and more. 2

Be strategic about your budget

When you take out a mortgage, you’re making a long-lasting financial commitment. Banks may approve your mortgage for a higher amount than you need. Be thoughtful when deciding your budget, because you’ll be living with that decision for decades to come!

Think carefully about how much house you can afford, and make sure to consider costs that aren’t included in your mortgage. Basic maintenance, emergency repairs, property taxes, renovations, and many other factors can add to your yearly home costs. You should also make plans for what happens if your financial situation changes. If one homeowner loses their job, can you afford your mortgage on the other person’s salary? Have these conversations early in the home buying process so you’re not caught by surprise later. 3.

A home warranty protects your investment

Once you buy a home, you’re directly responsible for everything that goes wrong! The days of calling a landlord for repairs are over. Luckily, you can protect your new investment by taking out a home warranty. These insurance policies cover repairs and replacements on most major appliances and systems throughout your home. When something breaks, your home warranty provides for the cost of repairs. If necessary, full replacements are also covered. You are only responsible for a flat service fee, which can save you thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Many sellers include one year of a home warranty as part of their offer. If your seller hasn’t included such a policy, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Your first leaking pipe or broken appliance is stressful enough without worrying about finances and a home warranty is a wise investment in your home. 4.

Be ready to move quickly

Homes move quickly once they go on the market. It’s common for a property to receive multiple offers on the first day it’s for sale. When you start shopping for a home, be ready to act as soon as you see a home you like. You can assume that your fellow buyers are acting quickly! Your realtor can help you navigate the first steps towards placing a competitive bid.

Speak up!

As a first-time homebuyer, the entire process will be full of new experiences. Feel free to speak up at any time, whenever you have a question or find something that seems unexpected. Your first home represents long-term legal and financial arrangements. It’s important to take care of all your hesitations before finalizing your purchase. Whether you have questions about the physical state of the home, the financial details of your mortgage, or the fine print on your closing contract, speak up! A good realtor will encourage questions and be happy to help you find answers.

You’re in control

Buying a home is an exciting time, and you might find that people love to offer advice on your new house. You’ll hear opinions on everything from location to style, the number of bedrooms to price, school districts to tax zones. While most advice comes with good intentions, remember who is buying this home. You’ll be responsible for the mortgage, the taxes, and the physical upkeep of your new house. Your opinion is most important! Accept advice with a grain of salt and make the decisions that are best for you.

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