Monday, July 22, 2019


Buying Your First Home? Do It Right.

April 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Money/Business, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) Buying your first home can be exciting, exhilarating and overwhelming. Whilst you may be keen to get your funds in Escrow and your possessions into a moving van, there’s lots to consider before you take the plunge and make an offer on a property.

With these handy tips, you can make sure you’ve got everything covered when you’re buying your first home…

Understand how the process works

There are lots of legal and financial regulations when it comes to buying a property, and you may face additional red tape if you’re applying for a mortgage as well. Before you begin looking at properties, make sure you understand exactly how the buying process works.

Remember – the rules can vary from city to city or state to state, so take the time to identify any local regulations which could affect the buying process.

Calculate your budget

Once you start looking at properties, it’s easy to get carried away and you don’t want to fall in love with a house you simply can’t afford. Before you start viewing, calculate exactly how much you’ve got to spend and obtain a realistic estimate of your borrowing capabilities.

There are lots of extra expenses which crop up when you buy a house, so factor these in when you’re budgeting and don’t over-extend yourself. If you can reduce your existing expenditure to increase your house budget, do so but don’t over-estimate how much you’ll able to save either.

Learn about mortgages

Most people rely on a mortgage in order to get on the property ladder, but you should ensure you understand exactly what you’re signing up for. Consulting an independent financial advisor may be a good way to find out what’s available, and what’s right for you. Although you might be relieved when a lender offers you a mortgage, don’t go with the first offer. Taking a few extra days or weeks to find the right mortgage lender can save you thousands in the long-run.

Look out for first-time buyer deals

There are various loans, grants and tax cuts available for first-time buyers but they aren’t always well advertised. Before you commit to anything, take a look around and find out whether you could benefit from any reputable first-time buyer deals or offers. Of course, any offers which sound too good to be true probably are. Ensure you’re dealing with reputable organizations and do your research before you sign anything. You’re only a first-time buyer once, so it’s important to make the most of it while you can!

Locate a real estate agent

Depending on what type of property you’re looking, one real estate agent may be more appropriate than another. As well as specializing in certain locations, real estate agents often specialize in certain types of properties. If you’re looking for a residential family home, for example, you may want to steer clear of agents who routinely work with apartment owners and commercial property vendors.

Have your potential new home inspected

Before you buy a property, it’s vital to have it properly inspected by a qualified professional. However nice a house looks, you don’t know what’s lurking beneath the floorboards or behind the walls. A house might seem like a bargain, only to become a money pit once you’ve moved in. If your state has a list of registered home inspectors, be sure to use someone who is qualified, registered and verified.

Identify your needs

You may have a long list of must-haves, but how realistic are they? First-time buyers are often on tight budgets and you may have to make some compromises to get on the property ladder. Identify which features really are must-haves and which are wants, so you can determine which properties are viable options.

Take your time

Some buyers are lucky enough to find a perfect home within days of starting their search but finding homes isn’t always that easy. In fact, some prospective buyers can spend months or even years waiting for the right property to come along. Don’t be afraid to say no to properties which aren’t right for you. With careful planning and budgeting, you can find the perfect home for you and your family, even if you have to wait a little while longer.

Look out for homeowners associations

A Homeowner Association can help to keep neighborhoods tidy, secure and safe but they can also add to your monthly outgoings. If you’re buying a property which is subject to a homeowners association, make sure you know what the terms are before you make an offer. Often, homeowners associations regulate how you can modify your property, so you may want to consider whether you want to be limited by any regulations which are currently in place.

Prepare your finances

As well as knowing your own finances, getting the paperwork to prove your financial status can make the process go far more smoothly. If you have a copy of your credit report, for example, you can confirm that you have a good credit score whenever you need to. Although lenders will need to run their own credit checks, having the paperwork to hand can help things along.

Similarly, getting pre-approved for a loan or mortgage can make the sales process more efficient. Although a pre-approval isn’t a guarantee of a loan, it does indicate that your application is likely to be accepted and potential vendors and real estate agents may be more responsive if you’ve got this in place.

With so much to consider, it’s not surprising that buying your first home can be confusing, stressful and time-consuming. However, the right preparation and research can make a world of difference. Seek help from professionals, such as independent financial advisors and home inspectors, and conduct your own research to ensure you understand how the process works. Once you’ve got all the information you need, you can start looking for your ideal property and your perfect first home.

Staff Writer; Doug Hall


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