Buying your first home elicits a lot of emotions: excitement, anxiety, confusion — it can be a real roller coaster ride! But with the right preparation and a good real estate agent, you can find the right house where you can start the rest of your life. Before you let your emotions get the best of you, educate yourself with advice from those who have been here before you.
As mentioned, emotions can run rampant when it’s your first home, but don’t let your enthusiasm for house hunting get the best of you. Many first-time homebuyers get too attached to a less than desirable property either out of excitement or because they are just ready to get the process over with. Instead of jumping to conclusions, spend time researching local market trends and get pre-qualified to have a good idea of the kind of mortgage lenders will offer. Preapproval is the essential first step in the homebuying process because it identifies your budget and monthly payment, which will identify the best areas available for you based on your home criteria. Any agent will not take a buyer seriously until they are fully approved; this goes for your agent as well as any agent representing a property that you may be placing an offer on.
Find a Niche Agent
Real estate agents often specialize in a certain niche such as — you guessed it — first-time homebuyers. Finding an agent who has a lot of experience working with people in situations similar to yours means they will be comfortable with the unique challenges first-time homebuyers face. Real estate agents look out for their client’s best interests and make the home-buying process more efficient, so don’t skip out on their expertise.
Over-Communicate Your Needs
Okay, maybe “over-communicate” is a bit much, but you need to be very thorough when telling your agent about what you need from your first home. While you may think giving lots of details will limit your agent’s search pool, it will actually make it a lot easier for them to find the best property for you. There are a lot more homes on the market than you can probably realize. The more specific you are, the less time you will waste.
Call a Contractor
If you are interested in a house but you want to make some renovations for it to be perfect, bring in a contractor before you put in an offer. Your contractor can give you an idea of what is possible and how much it can cost. Having these numbers on hand can help when it comes to negotiations. When looking for a contractor, ask friends and family for recommendations on trustworthy people. Research how much average renovation costs are in your area so you know what kind of estimates to expect. For instance, the average price to renovate or repair a home in San Diego can run from $8,866 to $22,000. Interview multiple contractors and go with the person with whom communication is easiest. Bonus tip: Find a contractor that is also a licensed property inspector to kill two birds with one stone.
Save More Than You Think You Need
When you are a first-time home buyer, finances are definitely on the forefront of your mind. Saving as much as possible — more than you think you need — means you will have a cushion of cash you can fall back on after making the biggest purchase of your life thus far. Make a few cuts to your budget and you can add thousands to your checking account in a matter of weeks. It may mean slim living for a few weeks, but it can save your mental health during this stressful experience — and you can’t put a price on that.
Buying a home for the first time is nerve wracking, exciting, and a learning experience, for sure! A first-time homebuyer can make the whole thing easier by preparing themselves with the knowledge of those who have been there before them. Go slowly and avoid making rash decisions. Research everything from your mortgage options to contractor costs in your area. Live lean while you are house hunting to save money beyond your down payment so your mental health doesn’t suffer under all the financial stress. Make sure not to take on additional debt (appliances, new car, credit cards) during your entire home buying process until you close escrow as this could negatively affect your ability to complete your loan, These little things can make a big difference for first-time homebuyers.
Want a comprehensive guide for your big, important purchase? Consider The First Time Homebuyer Book, proudly written by yours truly which will take you step by step through the process along with all kinds of resources to arm you with information for this monumentally important decision process & experience. You can learn more at www.TheFirstTimeHomebuyerBook.com