Top 9 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers
Buying your first home can be an overwhelming task. In addition to the emotional toll of life changes, it can be daunting task if you have no support systems or trusted advisors to help you.
Nowadays many people turn to the internet and Google the information they need to start a home search and learn the process. It’s an overwhelming, information overload, many times by individuals and company’s just looking to make a few dollars.
In this video, I’ll outline my top 9 tips to make your first-time (or anytime) home purchase go as smooth as possible.
1. Choose a great real estate agent
A good real estate agent will open doors for you to see homes. A great real estate agent will take the time to consult with you about your homebuying goals and preferences. They won’t be pushy salespeople but should take the time to provide information so that you can make an educated and informed decision. A great agent will help guide on your journey to homeownership.
2. Know your budget
Work out your budget and determine a monthly payment that YOU feel comfortable with. Not your lender, not your parents, not your Realtor, not your uncle’s dogs’ cousin because, at the end of the day, they’re not making your payments. Don’t allow anyone to push or stretch you into paying or buying more than you can afford.
3. Know your credit score
Your mortgage rate is determined, in part, by your credit score. It’s important to know that information going into the process. Check out annualcreditreport.com, Credit Karma or another service that will provide your score and give you information on how to increase it. There’s no need to sign up for a subscription service that charges you for credit monitoring.
4. Buyers representation is free
Some buyers are turned off to working with a Realtor because they feel it will cost them money- money that they’ll need for their new home. The truth is, it’s the seller that pays commissions to both their listing agent AND the buyer’s agent. Long before a home is actually listed for sale, the seller has already negotiated the commission they will pay. This means that buyers can obtain an agent’s expertise and representation without having to come up with any money to pay them.
5. Find a lender you can trust and who is responsive
Having been a lender myself for about 20 years I can tell you that most loans are the same from lender to lender. They all offer about the same interest rates, they all offer about the same fees and they all expect to be paid back. Do yourself a favor and align with a good loan officer. Work with someone who will answer all your questions, explain the financing process and one who will be responsive. Everyone will claim to make the home financing process easy but the truth is- there are often obstacles outside of your control that pop up- you need someone who will answer the phone and respond to your emails. Get a recommendation from a trusted friend.
6. Get pre-approved before you start house hunting
If I had a dime for every one that has said, “I can get the financing”, I would be on an island somewhere not making these videos! You wouldn’t go grocery shopping without a wallet, right? What is worse than falling in love with a home, a neighborhood or area and then finding out that the home is sold before a lender can issue a pre-approval letter. Get pre-approved or your financing BEFORE shopping for homes
7. Be prepared to act quickly
It’s true that the very best homes and the very best deals get snapped up quickly! When you find the right home for you and your family, you’ll need to act quickly in order put together an offer.
8. Shop around for home insurance
Home insurance rates can vary greatly between carriers. And the added environmental factors that Florida “provides” such as hurricanes and flood insurance mean that careful decisions must be made to ensure that your home investment is protected.
9. Don’t skip the home inspection
Most home inspections are not mandatory but are often highly recommended for home-buyers. The home inspection will includes a thorough review of the homes roof, electrical, plumbing and structural integrity. Additional inspections such as for a pool or wood destroying pests may also be in order so that you can get a better understanding if there are existing concerns with the home before moving forward.