5 Essential Tips for First-Time House Hunters

Looking for your first home can be both exciting and overwhelming, not to mention a bit daunting. But if you’re ready to leave the world of rentals behind and start building equity with each monthly payment, then it’s definitely time to begin your first house hunt. And you could probably use a little guidance to ensure that you get all your ducks in a row and make the process easier. Here are just a few essential tips that every first-time home buyer can use.

  1. Get pre-approved for a loan. There are two very good reasons to get pre-approval from a lender before you start looking at homes. For one thing, you can’t really determine a price range until you know what your spending limit is. But you could also run into problems if you find a home you love and you try to put in an offer before you have loan approval. If the seller wants to move fast, you might find yourself out of the running. And if you’re up against other bidders who have been pre-approved, guess who the seller is more likely to select?
  2. Set a budget. You might think that your budget for buying a home is the amount you’re pre-approved for by a lender, but this isn’t always the case. Before you simply accept the blanket number the bank offers, you need to calculate what you can actually afford to pay for a home. When you’ve figured out what you can reasonably afford for a monthly mortgage payment, you can then determine what your top dollar is for overall pricing.
  3. Make a list of must-haves. You probably have some ideas about the type of property you’re interested in, including rough location, type of real estate (home, condo, etc.), and structural specs (square footage, number of rooms, and so on), just for example. But you really need to put together a comprehensive list of what you want and what you need, as well as arrange your list by priority. This way you’ll make sure to find homes that check the most boxes on your list.
  4. Keep your options open. When you’re buying your first home, chances are good that you’re working with a pretty tight budget, and this can translate into a number of compromises. While you might be interested in brand new construction in a good neighborhood, close to your work, with a school district suitable for the family you’ve got planned, this type of real estate goes for top dollar. This means that you might have to buy a fixer-upper in your desired neighborhood or look outside the area you prefer in order to get more bang for your buck. Just keep in mind that there are options that can help you to get everything you want within your price range. For example, purchasing a home that is cosmetically outdated and suffers from some damage could net you a lower up-front price. And with a good contractor by your side, you could implement the repairs and upgrades needed to turn a dumpy house into the beautiful, modern home you crave. Watch a few episodes of ‘Property Brothers’ on HGTV and you’ll get the idea.
  5. Get professional help. You might not be keen on the idea of paying to hire a real estate agent, but as a first time home buyer it’s in your best interest to have a knowledgeable and experienced representative to guide you through the process of purchasing property and offer you advice as to how to best proceed in order to snag your dream home. At the very least, an agent from a reputable company like Century 21 Cityside can get you in to view the homes that interest you. But a pro can also show you the ropes of real estate buying and even negotiate a price for you. In short, this service is invaluable to first-time buyers.

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