Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

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Buying your first home is exciting! You have probably spent a lot of time saving and working on cleaning up credit. Perhaps you have been looking at available properties in the areas you are most interested in. You might even be looking forward to this huge transition in your life.

Even with the most positive of attitudes being a first-time homebuyer can get overwhelming, and it can become overwhelming very quickly. The house hunting part is the easy part, it is everything that comes after. The paperwork, the dozens of people you will communicate with at any given time, inspections, extended deadlines – the list of components to buying a home can go on and on.

This list of tips is designed to help you ease through the process of buying your first home. While it won’t solve every roadblock you may run into, it will give you an idea of what to expect next and what to work on preparing with your team.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers:

  • In advance of applying for financing, review your credit report and clean up any blemishes. Work on putting money away and building your savings.
  • Apply for a pre-qualification or a pre-approval with a trusted home loan lender. There are a variety of choices that you can go through to obtain financing, take your time looking at all of your options and choose the right one for you.
  • Understand your budget. Your pre-qualification or pre-approval will give  you the maximum you could be financed for. But that doesn’t mean that it should be your spending budget. Remember to factor in things like property taxes, homeowners insurance, fees associated with homeowners associations, condos or co-ops. Then there is also monthly utilities and maintenance to consider. While none of these are factored into your possible financing amount, they are all part of the cost of owning a home. Working with these numbers can help you determine what you can actually afford regardless of what you are financed for. This will also help you to narrow down your home search.
  • Select a real estate professional to work with during your home search. I know this tip seems somewhat self-serving, but hear me out. A licensed real estate salesperson holds the knowledge and resources to help you navigate a market of endless possibilities. This can help cut the time of your home search and allow you to make better, educated offers on the property of your choosing.
  • Create a list of needs and wants. This will help identify properties that in theory will work for you. Now of course, we know not every property you look at will be the one, even if it has all of your wants and needs. You also may need to make concessions. If you are dead set on a location and that particular location sells at a premium, you may need to make concessions to get into that neighborhood. This could mean losing a bedroom or bathroom off your your list. However, if the property speaks to you, you may not actually care about that one element coming off your list.
  • Always have an inspection done! You should never purchase a property without having a home inspection done not only to make sure the home is a sound investment but also for safety reasons. Any major problems that arise can be identified ahead of purchase and possibly negotiated for in the sales price. In New York State if certain issues total above a certain amount the buyer can actually terminate the purchase contract. Either way, an inspection puts everyone on the same page about the condition of the home. Your real estate professional should have some suggestions of who to hire or seek out your own inspector by interviewing some options.
  • It is highly recommended that you use a real estate attorney to ensure all i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. Also, there is a lot of paperwork, it is possibly the most overwhelming of everything you will deal with during the buying process. Your attorney will keep track of deadlines, expiration of clauses, and they will be able to be in contact with the seller’s attorney to make sure the process is moving along from their end. While each buying situation is different, some can be really tricky. When you are a novice at something you are bound to make a mistake, but having someone on your side to make sure that the process is legal is reassuring. It also takes a lot off of your plate so you can continue with your daily life as opposed to living and breathing buying a home.

Those are just a few things you can do to make sure you are successful in the purchase of your first home Of course there are many other components to buying a home and things that you could never prepare for. The best thing you can do for yourself is surround yourself with a group of trusted professionals who will help you with the right steps to success but also educate you as you go.

Erin Miller is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson with HUNT Real Estate ERA in Saratoga Springs, NY. Previously she has worked in social media and marketing, with a strong background in customer service. Erin is looking forward to blending real estate and her other skills to provide a great experience for future clients. Visit her website at www.homeswitherinmiller.com.

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