Useful Real Estate Shopping Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Buying a home for the first time can feel like an adventure. And it should! You’re making a major purchase as an adult and you get to create a personal living space that is truly yours for the first time in your life. The flipside, of course, comes to light when you start signing the paperwork and really thinking about the massive debt you’re taking on. This part can be a little scary, to say the least. In truth, the whole process may be overwhelming for first-time home buyers. But with some guidelines under your belt, you can find a great starter home, have a fair amount of awareness about what you’re getting into, and take steps to ensure that you’re getting a deal you can actually afford and a property you can manage.

The place to begin is by hiring a real estate agent. While you can certainly use one of several mobile MLS (multiple listing service) apps like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin to kick off your house hunting expedition, you’ll want an experienced professional by your side when it comes to making appointments, touring homes, and putting in offers. These aren’t tasks that first-time home buyers should tackle alone. Keep in mind that agents have to go through training and licensure exams to prepare for buying and selling homes. So they know how to help you find what you’re looking for, understand what you’re looking at, and negotiate appropriately when you’re prepared to put in an offer on a property. Going it alone is a lot more likely to land you in hot water.

Of course, you’ll have to make the final decision, one way or another. So in addition to finding a realtor you trust and listening to his/her advice, there are a few things you should figure out before you even start your house hunt. For example, you might want to think about a preferred neighborhood. Do you want to be in a particular school district? Are you looking for an affordable area that also features low crime rates? Would you like to be close to work, public transportation options, or the amenities offered by urban centers? Or are the suburbs more your speed? You should also consider your priorities, including cost, square footage, number of bedrooms, lot size, and so on.

And before you ever set foot on a property you should go to your bank to get pre-approved for a home loan. This will give you the negotiating power to place a bid when you do find the home of your dreams (provided it’s in your price range). Don’t forget, there are also things you’ll need to consider throughout the process. For example, you’ll want to look for damage that could herald serious structural problems with a home. And of course, you need to hire a home inspector before you buy. Make any offer contingent on this condition. Never waive the home inspection!

Taking the time to do a little legwork will make buying a home a much easier process. Whether you start your search on MLS sites or you hire a pro from Bill True Hilton Head Real Estate to get the ball rolling, you need to come prepared with a list of must-haves and loan approval in order to ensure that you can find your perfect home and put in the winning bid when you do.

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