Buying your first home is a huge step, and one of the biggest decisions that you’ll make in your life. The home buying process is exciting, but it’s also very daunting, especially if you have no prior experience to fall back on. Being prepared will help you enter the market with confidence. Below are some first-time home buying tips that you should consider:
Make sure you’re ready to buy. Buying your first home is not something you want to rush into too soon. If you’re strongly considering it, take some time to consider your finances, life goals and career. How is your credit? Do you plan on moving anytime in the next 5 years or so? Do you have kids, or plan to have one soon? Do all the math, and be honest with yourself. If you’re better off waiting, even if you don’t want to, wait.
Location, location, location. This is an important early step that a potential first home buyer should take. After all, even the perfect house will not make up for a bad neighborhood. Research different neighborhoods in the area you want to live and identify which ones you like best — and which ones to avoid.
Hire a real estate agent. While it’s certainly possible to find and buy a great home on your own, it is not advisable, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. A good real estate agent will make the process much faster and easier, and when it comes to closing on a home can save you both time and money. You’ll want a realtor with experience in the neighborhoods you’re interested in, so interview several before hiring. Remember, the difference between a closed deal on a home and a disappointment is often the professionals that are involved
Get pre-approved. Before you hit the market, get pre-approved by a lender or mortgage broker. This will streamline the process of closing a deal on your home, and will also show sellers that you’re serious about buying.
Budget out all ‘extra’ costs. There is much more involved in buying a home than just the cost of the house itself. There are also homeowner’s association fees, home inspection fees, homeowner’s insurance, utilities and maintenance costs to consider. Budget these out ahead of time to avoid any unwelcome surprises down the road.
Don’t skimp on home inspections. It can be very tempting to save money and skip on a home inspection before purchasing your first home. After all, it can be a costly step in an already expensive process. Skipping this crucial step, however, is a huge risk, and one that can leave you with expensive repairs on a home you may have paid too much for.
Of course, there are plenty of other factors to consider when buying your first home. Take a look at some of the other Buyer Resources posts on this site, and if you’re ready to buy your first home on Hawaii, contact real estate agent Lailan Bento today for a consultation.