8 Crucial Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

First time home buyers, here are some tips that may help you get started...

So, you're going for it. Mortgage rates are low and you see buying a home as a great investment for your future. It's finally time to start shopping for your first home. 

Buying a home can be nerve wracking, a learning curve, and an emotional roller coaster. It'll be hard for you to know what to expect, but by working with your Realtor, you'll be able to stay grounded throughout the process and at ease. Here are 8 helpful tips on how you can best prepare yourself for your first home:

1. Talk to a Mortgage Lender and get pre-approved

Talk to a reputable lender (your real estate agent can refer you) before you start getting your hopes up on a home. It's important to get your letter of pre-approval so that when you're serious on making an offer on a home, it shows. 

2. Stock pile some cash

While some mortgages allow for a lower downpayment (3%), the more you have, the more leverage you'll have. Plus, there's a benefit to having a large down payment like no PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), smaller payments, lower interest overall, and better odds to getting a home in a bidding war. Plus, you'll want to factor in other costs like furniture, moving day, earnest money, and more. 

3. Organize documents

When you apply for a mortagage, you'll need to document your income and taxes. These documents can include items like pay stubs, w-2's, tax returns, and bank statements. 

4. Find a Realtor® to help you

While you can find a TON of information about real estate and houses available online, Realtors can do a lot of the legwork for you. As a buyers agent, it's free for you, you get more negotiating power, you have full access to the MLS, they'll save you time, be a resource for you, and take care of ALL of the paperwork and legal contracts. This is PARAMOUNT in a sellers market. You want someone that can put YOUR best foot forward with the strongest negotiating techniques. 

5. Think long term

Don't think about why you want the house now. Think 5 years from now- will you be happy there? Will you have children? Will you still be living in this area? Will you need more space? Rent it out? Sell it? All of these questions will be important BEFORE you really get started searching. 

6. Distinguish what you want vs what you need

I'm sorry to break it to you, but it's highly unlikely you'll find the PERFECT home, especially for your first. For this reason, it's important to know what qualities you MUST have versus what "may be nice to have" and you could live without. 

7. Be ready to strike

Once you are pre-approved for a mortgage and your real estate agent firmly understands your needs, be ready to make an offer on a home. We are currently in the midst of a seller’s market. This means that the number of people attempting to buy a home far outnumbers the available homes for sale. This puts the seller in the driver’s seat of the negotiations.

8. Be patient

As mentioned above, we're in a SELLERS market. This is largely due to a significant imbalance between the housing supply and demand. In short, there just aren’t enough homes on the market to meet the current level of demand. As a buyer, if you don't get the first house you're looking for, don't stress it. Also, do not get impatient, frustrated, and end up purchasing something you know you're not going to be happy with. 

Thank you for reading! 

Are you ready to get started on your home search? Fill out my buyers questionnaire and let's help find YOUR next home. 

Austin Schneider | austin.schneider@rsir.com | Realogics Sotheby's International Realty 

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