For many first time home buyers, the prospect of finding and purchasing a home can be a bit overwhelming. Here are five tips to help you get started on the path to home ownership.
1. Determine what type of home matches your needs.
Residential properties come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from condominiums and townhouses to traditional single-family houses and multi-family buildings. As such, you should carefully consider all options before beginning the search. Research the additional costs associated with various housing types. A condo or townhome may have an attractive purchase price, but be sure you take into consideration monthly HOA dues. If you’ve found the perfect house with a price you’re comfortable with, be sure you’re comfortable with costs and time associated with maintenance of a home, including lawn care, utility costs and property taxes/insurance.
2. Identify the features you want your home to have.
While no home will contain everything you want, you should also remember that you are likely making one of the biggest purchases of your life. By creating a list of features such as neighborhood, size, and amenities, you can rank prospective homes based on how closely they match your ideal house. In today’s real estate market, it may not be wise to assume you’ll only be in the house for 3-5 years before selling and moving up. By anticipating your needs down the road or not settling for something that isn’t what you truly want, you’ll find it easier to stay in the home longer than you originally planned if you are unable to sell it or unable to find another home.
3. Use all available resources.
Because the real estate market typically covers a wide geographical area, it is important to take advantage of all opportunities to find prospective homes. In addition to using a qualified real estate agent, you should consider seeking out listings online and looking for for-sale signs in your neighborhoods of interest. Many home buyers also choose to ask friends, family, and business associates about potential listings, which can result in a key reference. In markets where the inventory is low, it’s not uncommon for shoppers to leave letters in the mailboxes of homes of desirable areas with attractive purchase offers for the owner.
4. Secure financing
Perhaps the most daunting aspect of the home buying process, financing is also one of the most important. Many first time home buyers qualify for federally backed loans and loans with a lower down payment minimum. Before you sign a loan agreement, you should perform careful research of all options and possibly seek out the opinion of a mortgage professional. Online lenders, like AmeriSave, offer extremely competitive rates and use secure document upload technology that younger generations are very comfortable with. AmeriSave makes the approval process simple and easy, saving you a considerable amount of money. Check today’s mortgage rates.
5. Make an offer.
After you identify a home that you wish to purchase, you must submit an offer to the seller. In most cases, you tell your real estate agent how much you are willing to pay for the house and indicate any special conditions you want to ask for. They will submit the offer to the seller’s agent, who will present it to the owner. The owner has a few options: The best scenario is they accept your offer and you work with your lender to schedule the closing. The owner may also decline your offer or counter-offer, where they modify your conditions or ask for more money. These negotiations usually happen fairly quickly, with a 24 hour window to respond.