Today’s real estate market can seem like a scary place. One glance at your newsfeed, and you’ll see countless headlines screaming at whoever will listen that the market is down, or that a recession is just on the horizon. The problem with knee-jerk reactions such as these is that they are merely opinions, and have little to do with any one individual’s personal financial situation.
The truth is, if you are financially responsible, have a steady income, and are looking to put an end to the rental cycle, now is the perfect time to buy. If you are a first-time homebuyer, the most important thing you can do is surround yourself with two types of experts: a mortgage professional to help secure your financing, and a dedicated real estate agent to handle your home search. With assets like these by your side, all of the doom and gloom in your newsfeed is simply idle chatter.
Take a look at our tips below for first-time homebuyers, and put your faith in your expert team to carry the load!
STEP #1: SAVE FOR A DOWN PAYMENT — While it is common to put 20% down, many lenders now permit much less, and many first-time home buyer programs allow as little as 3% down. If cash savings are short, there are several alternatives, including setting aside tax refunds and work bonuses, or asking a family member to gift the funds.
STEP #2: GET PRE-QUALIFIED — Your mortgage pro will coordinate with a lender, who will look at your income, credit scores, revolving debts, etc. These factors will impact what loan products are available for you, and what rate you can qualify for. That way, you’ll know exactly how much house you can afford to comfortably buy. Once you have a certified pre-qualification letter in your hands, you are ready to begin house hunting with your dedicated real estate agent.
STEP #3: MAKE YOUR HOME WISH LIST — This will be a key component in your home search; it is what your agent will use to formulate a plan of attack. How many beds and baths? Is a full backyard more important, or a fully finished basement? By communicating both your home “wants” and your home “needs”, your agent can create a tailored home search, one that not only will produce results, but save you time and effort in the long run.
STEP #4: MAKE A NEIGHBORHOOD WISH LIST — Ask your real estate agent to help you track down neighborhood crime stats and school ratings. Measure your commute from your front door to your office to gauge commute time, and your proximity to convenient public transportation. Be sure and visit the neighborhood at different times to get a sense of traffic, neighbor interactions, and the overall vibe to see if it’s an area that feels like home for you and your family.
STEP #5: DON’T LET YOUR EMOTIONS TAKE CONTROL — The truth is, buying a home is deeply personal. It is so easy to get swept up in emotions, as you picture yourself living in each and every home you walk through. You may fall in love with a home too quickly, or dismissing one because your convinced there could be something better out there.
In the end, a home must feel right. That means that you’ve worked closely with your team, and have considered the financial, the practical, and the emotional elements that will all come to bear during this transaction. It is the job of your expert d’aprile properties real estate agent to help you manage these emotions, and make sure that you are completely informed on the details of the process. Only then will you have the confidence to move forward, and comfortably become a first-time home owner!