Buying your first home is a huge step in life, a pivotal moment that is a mix of dread and thrill. The repercussions of it could stick with your for a lifetime, so, you better not rush things here.
The steps can look a bit different from state to state, but underlying principles remain the same. Take your time to assess your finances, life situation, the market, and opportunities out there. There is a slew of moving parts to keep an eye on and many costly mistakes to avoid.
Setting the financial house in order
Not knowing what you can afford is the first on the list of pitfalls to steer clear of. Believe me, you don’t want financial problems to come and haunt you later, once you have taken the plunge.
You must do the math and have a sound financing plan in place. A mortgage is a viable option, provided that you figure out the total costs over its lifetime. It’s also a good idea to fulfill all the tax saving formalities and get the loan pre-approval ahead of time.
Furthermore, note that there are some first-time buyer loans with a lower down payment minimum than the conventional counterparts. Feel free to consult agents regarding referrals for mortgage brokers or turn to your bank/credit union.
The question of where
Knowing where to look is the key to fulfilling your dream of homeownership.
Don’t make the mistake many property hunters make and rely solely on what you find online. Yes, you can do a plenty of things via the internet before ever setting foot in the home. However, there are certain aspects that you cannot spot on an image, which can often be misleading. You are better off scheduling several home visits at a time and seeing it all with your own eyes.
No amount of digital mumbo-jumbo can replace a good old home inspection, the only surefire way to get to know what exactly you are buying. In some states, inspection is a contract contingency, but even if it’s not, you should never skip this step.
Seek real estate agents
Trying to keep spending in check by avoiding any professional help is one of the most common mistakes that first-time buyers make.
Rest assured that reputable real estate agents can save you a lot of time, headaches, and money. They are the professionals who know the market backward and forward and have access to hot information, such as listings that still haven’t been made public.
Moreover, they can review targeted homes for you, gather crucial documents, sniff out overpriced properties, and uncover problems and faults that sellers try to conceal.
The price of dreams
Know that prices of homes are not set in stone: they are a reflection of what a seller wants to get in the certain market.
As a rule of thumb, the first offer is a bit inflated, so don’t hesitate to reject it. Of course, it helps to carry out research and take a look at pending and comparable sales (similar type and condition of the property) in the area.
Use acquired insights to work out a realistic price range and manage your expectations accordingly. Then, you can develop your negotiating position and prepare a list of questions.
A broader view
You buy what you see before you, but also what you are able to envision in terms of the home’s potential. Problems can be solved and fixed, sometimes via a Request for Repair to the seller. An unfortunate paint choice is not a deal breaker and some redecorating can make new space truly feel like home.
In any case, you shouldn’t skimp on renovation, especially if you think it could make a real difference, whether in terms of your satisfaction or resale value. I have seen trusted home builders from Sydney helping numerous Aussie homeowners design, revamp, and remodel their homes, boosting their appeal, comfort, and value in the process.
Beyond face value
Never lose sight of the big picture.
The neighborhood that surrounds your home has a profound impact on the quality of life, as well as the value and true appeal of the home. Keep an eye on amenities, institutions, shops, parks, and other things in the vicinity. Get to know the society and its rules.
Ask around to make sure that the neighborhood is not plagued by problems such as crime. Finally, you could also check whether there are some large infrastructural projects that could enhance the value and allure of the properties in the area.
Getting on the property ladder
For unseasoned newcomers, a residential market can be a real jungle. Many people are lead astray, finding out that buying their first home is a time-consuming, budget-guzzling, and emotionally draining process.
Therefore, you have to do your homework: arm yourself with knowledge and summon professionals to your aid. There isn’t much room for mistake and no reason for hastiness. The basic rule is this: check, research, look, and inspect.
That way, you can gain a foothold in the property market without blowing your budget or go out of your way to reaching your goals.