Consider the following questions.
- Are you in a stable relationship that has been ongoing for several years, with a new addition expected soon?
- Are you tired of spending money every month without seeing any returns?
- Do you feel frustrated when you think that all the money you pay in rent is helping someone else to make money on their property investment?
- Have you thought about how much you would like to make your living space reflect your own life, not only in décor but also in design?
- Are you looking for a stable investment that you would like to mature over time?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you might want to consider getting into the real estate market by purchasing your first home.
Purchasing Real Estate
Most of us purchase our first piece of real estate for practical reasons. Many of us do so because we are starting a family, and some just to have something that they can call their own. Buying a house is the most expensive purchase most people will ever make in their lives, so it is necessary to approach the purchase of your first house with a lot of caution. This first investment can make or break your financial outlook well into the future, and maybe throughout your whole life. If that sounds scary, well, it is! But if you are properly prepared and willing to listen to advice, then all should go well and in a few years you will find that your first investment worked out nicely. Here are some tips when you are looking into buying your first home
Don’t neglect the preliminaries!
There are a lot of steps that need to be taken before you start looking at homes. The following preliminaries are essential in determining what type of home you will need to look at in order to make your dream of ownership a reality.
- Make sure you are ready! Buying a home is a huge financial commitment, so you need to be prepared to pay more every month than you do when you are renting. Don’t just consider the price of a home; also consider the costs of getting to and from your place of work, the future needs of your family, and the cost of repairs.
- Find a good realtor. Realtors are a dime a dozen, but just like any job, only one in every four is really good. Taking care when selecting a realtor will help you avoid any pitfalls, and an experienced realtor will have a lot of contacts to help you get set up for the other preliminaries.
- Check your credit rating. Your credit score is going to be a huge factor in your mortgage, so check it before you start shopping so that you won’t get any nasty surprises. If your score is bad, immediately begin taking steps to repair it.
- Start saving. A good down payment will be key in avoiding a large mortgage. The longer you can save, the more money you can put down. You may also want this money to furnish or make repairs to the new home.
- Get pre-approved. Pre-approval will give you a good idea about how much money you will be able to spend on a house. Having a dollar amount ready up front will help you narrow your search.
Looking at houses
The best part about buying a home is looking at the assortment of houses within your price range. It can also be a real eye-opener when it comes to the impact of location on a home’s value and the amount some people think they can get for their houses. Here are some things to consider while you look.
- Is the house in good repair? Inside and out, the house should demonstrate that it has been looked after. If there are visible problems such as peeling paint, holes in the walls, even unclean conditions, it may be a sign that there are problems that go underneath the surface. If the current owners can’t look after the small stuff, there is no reason to believe they are looking after the big stuff, like pipes and heating.
- Is there enough room? Don’t just consider the current size of your family here. You will also want to look at any future additions, as well as what your kids may need in terms of living space as they grow up. Houses with a lot of room to expand are also a good idea, so the actual plot will be important.
- What kind of limitations are placed on the property via zoning and neighborhood laws? Many people are surprised to find that there are different zoning laws in different neighborhoods. These laws are important as failing to obey them can mean substantial fines. For example, if you run a business out of your home, you will want to be sure that zoning allows you to do so and that you can receive clients. Beware of properties with easements; just because they have sold in the past does not mean they will sell in the future!
- Be aware of your own limitations! First time home buyers are often overly optimistic about their abilities to improve their houses. They will go for fixer-upper properties in order to substantially increase the value. This can be a mistake, especially in today’s busy world. If you have a good record of getting things done in the past, by all means by an improvement house. If you are busy with work and kids, though, it might be best to spend a little extra on a home that is completely finished.
Closing the deal
A lot of the time, people will just know when they find the house that is perfect for them. It is here that your realtor’s expertise will come in the most handy, as they can help you when it comes to negotiating price and what stays with the house. You should also consider getting the home inspected before you sign the papers, so that you will not receive any nasty surprises. Keep all the documents pertaining to the sale in a secure place for future reference; often, your lawyer or notary public will keep records as well.
Buying a home can be a lot of fun, but never forget that it is a major investment. Take your time and don’t fall into any common first home buyer traps!