When you buy a home, you are taking on a big responsibility. Though, with that responsibility comes a big payoff. It is a large project to undertake — one that Arturo Zavala Real Estate is ready to navigate with you. Before that, though, there is a lot of homework needed, including research, calculations and learning all the steps needed to get you into your first home. This list provides 10 tips on how to help the process move along smoothly on your way to stability and security.
10 Tips For First Time Home Buyers
- Is the timing right? Buying a home is much more than mortgage payments. It is a big part, for sure, but what happens when the central air goes out in your ‘new’ home? Are you able to afford to replace it? When you rent, you do not need to worry about repairs. It is important to evaluate, calculate and budget for these unforeseen circumstances.
- Understand you may need to compromise. While it is Arturo Zavala Real Estate’s number one goal to get you into the house of your dreams, the reality is that finding your dream home with all the bells and whistles you’re looking for, in your price range, is sometimes very difficult. Priorities differ from home buyer to home buyer, so it is important to make a game plan and determine which preferences you can be flexible with. Do you really need that extra bathroom? The current kitchen appliances are raggedy, but could they work for a couple years? Having a game plan to compromise on some of your priorities is a time saver and can help you get into a home quicker.
- Credit, credit, credit. Do you know your credit score? This important rating lets potential lenders value your reputation for living within your means and paying your bills on time. Of course, you’re obviously more than your credit score — but first impressions are, after all, first impression and that’s what we have to work with initially with a mortgage lender. Protect your reputation by keeping your credit score as high as possible.
- How long do you have? Especially in today’s market, it can take months and months before you get into a home and a good mortgage. The steps to getting into a home are vast, so it may take some time. Be patient and be flexible when setting your timeline goals.
- Think big picture. What type of home is this? Is it a starter home for a couple years or do you plan to live in your future home for the long term? If it’s a starter home, it’s important to understand the property, it’s location and who your potential buyers are. If the home is in on a busy street, you may have less interest from families with children as potential buyers. If selling is in your future, think re-sale.
- Budget time. While there’s a lot of steps in the home buying process that are important, being prepared with a budget is at the top of that list. Your lender may determine you can afford something, but that isn’t always true of what you can actually afford. You don’t want to be caught buying a home that is outside what your true budget can support. Budgeting is crucial.
- How do down payments work? Typically, the rule of thumb for down payments is recommended at 20%. By putting 20% down, you immediately have equity and equity is a very good thing, especially since it will lower your monthly payment. Don’t have 20% to put down? That’s okay, too. There are mortgage’s that allow you to put down as little as 3%. Work with your mortgage lender to find a solution that works best for you and is within your means.
- Inspect it! When you buy a home, you need to know exactly what you’re getting. Don’t get caught surprised with hidden problems. And while no property is perfect, there’s plenty of homes with minimal issues. Get a certified home inspector who will cover all areas of the prospective home, including but not limited to structural issues, electrical, HVAC, insulation, roofing, ventilation and plumbing. It’s worth it, trust me.
- Additional costs. Doubling down on No. 6, you’re going to want to understand what additional costs may accrue during the home buying process. Most of which renters do not need to worry about, including:
- Property tax;
- Utility bills;
- Homeowners Assc. (HOA) fees;
- Mortgage interest;
- Hazard, Flood, etc. insurance
- Consumables (air filters, etc.)
- Trust the process. Recently, I posted on Instagram and Twitter a quote I think is important for every potential homeowner to remember: “Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason it will.” As mentioned, home buying isn’t easy. There will be doubts along the way, no doubt. However, if you focus on each of these steps ahead of time, then build on them, you’re going to find yourself more confident, less stressed and able to get into the perfect home for you.
I hope these tips help you on your home buying journey. If Arturo Zavala Real Estate can help in any way during your search, please don’t hesitate to reach out on social media, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to serving as many as I can!