Purchasing your very first home is an exciting time in your life and should be fun! When house hunting, ensure you can afford what you’re looking at. With low interest rates, now is the perfect time for homebuyers to take advantage of those rates.
If you are buying a home for the first time, it is important to find a realtor and lender who will explain the home buying process to you so you know what to expect. Relying on their expertise accompanied with these nine tips to succeed in your home buying journey.
In order to receive a mortgage with a reasonable interest rate, your credit score will have to be healthy. Building and repairing your score months before you start searching for a home is imperative. You do not want to find the home of your dreams only to lose out on it due to being rejected for a mortgage on account of poor credit.
Getting a thorough check of your credit score can allow for corrections or for you to pay the money that you owe. Receiving calls from bill collectors are rarely legitimate so owing money you don’t realize could occur. Getting credit repair professionals to help you can get your score up enough so you qualify for a first-time homebuyer mortgage. Buyer programs help encourage those that want to purchase their first home by allowing them to put a relatively small downpayment on a home. Real estate agents will understand the various types of home loans that you might qualify for.
Military service can impact this as well as a VA loan can be quite advantageous. VA loans are a huge perk of serving in the military for a particular period of time along with college education being covered. The various buyer programs could differ depending on a number of variables.
Bring your credit score up to around 700 to get the best interest rates possible as these don’t fluctuate too much after that.
The fact that interest rates are relatively low makes this one of the best times in the last few decades to purchase a home. The only drawback is prices seem to be fluctuating which can scare buyers that are worried about another housing bubble. The Fed is looking to make interest rates a little higher than they are currently so start home shopping now.
Setting up a plan to pay your existing debts needs to be done as they will not miraculously pay themselves if paying the minimum monthly. Freelancing can be a great way to drive down your debts by earning supplemental income in your spare time. Even a few hours per week adds up over the course of a few months.
Technology has made it as convenient as ever to digitally sign documents and expedite the buying experience. Getting inside tips on homes before they are listed is something that only an experienced and well-known realtor can do for you. Real estate agents that work together frequently give each other tips or ask if the realtor might have any buyers in mind. Things you should look for in an experienced real estate professional:
- Communication is key throughout the entire process and agents can call, text, or email depending on preference. People with traditional jobs can just step out to take a call each time their realtor calls.
- A history of happy clients that can easily be seen in testimonials. These can be hosted on a platform or on the agent’s personal website or webpage for their real estate agent.
- Knowledge of the local area should come at a premium especially if moving to a new city. The agent could be the best source of information that you have during your first few weeks in a new location. Details like how the sports teams of a local high school are can be something an agent might have knowledge of.
- Experience with helping clients buy and sell different types of properties. Some might specialize in luxury homes while others stay in the waterfront home niche. The right real estate agent can actually make the buying process pleasant even though it is stressful. You want an agent that you know has your best interests in mind and is willing to negotiate intensely for you.
Mortgage lenders have become more strict in terms of their loans. The housing bubble occurred due to lenders giving out loans that had a huge chance of defaulting. The proof of income and other financial information is now scrutinized heavily.
Asking yourself the following questions can allow you to figure out which home you should buy:
- What features do I want versus need? There are some features that would be nice to have but can be a financial drain like that of a large pool in the backyard.
- What is the housing market looking like in the local area? You want to purchase a home that is a great investment in an up-and-coming area.
- Do you want a fixed-upper or turnkey property? Some homeowners are willing to do some work while others want a smooth transition in terms of moving into their new home immediately.
- Are there entertainment options in the local area? With so many people working remotely, entertainment options in the local area are as important as ever before.
- What are the monthly costs associated with the property? Asking the previous owners about electricity or water bills is important. You do not want to be just squeaking by due to expenses being far more than anticipated.
Don’t forget to be realistic during the process of purchasing a home. Some people get caught in the trap of buying a dream home then have trouble affording it. You want to be able to comfortably afford your home without living paycheck to paycheck.
You might need to start pulling various files that have itemized payments. Mortgage lenders want to make sure you didn’t receive a personal loan in order to make payments. This could make you more apt to default on the loan which is not something lenders want to happen. Most loans get sold to other mortgage companies so making sure the default rate is low is essential.
The home inspection is going to cost a few hundred dollars regardless so make sure you pick a top professional. The best part of an inspector is that they work for you rather than your agent or the seller’s agent. The roof and HVAC system are both very important as these can be huge costs if they need to be replaced. A damaged roof can lead to water damage, rot, and black mold which needs to be removed by a professional to be done safely.
Furniture that you have in your current home might not be the best option for your new home. Spending thousands of dollars on furniture simply is not in the cards for people that put most of their cash into the downpayment of the home.
Expanding your knowledge is what the open house is all about. There are even some couples that do this regularly as they want to know about the housing market when they decide to buy. You might not be looking for a home but see one that checks all of the boxes which might make it important to jump on quickly.
Buying a home does not have to be a nightmare although it is going to bring you some stress. Informing yourself is the best way to reduce your stress as the right agent and self-education can work wonders. Use the tips above to make sure that this process goes smoothly.
You’d be surprised as to how little of a hassle you are given if you do an incredible job paying off debt and improving your credit score.