Purchasing your first home is an exciting time and transitioning from renter to property owner presents a long list of significant long-term benefits. Yet, there are numerous thoughts and fears many have when considering buying their first home.
When beginning the initial process of owning a home for the first time, most people spend a fair amount of time looking around for the perfect house, in the right neighborhood and in the right location. Selecting the right property that is a good fit on all levels and ensuring the location will meet all of your requirements is obviously a big part of making sure your short-term and long-term needs are met.
However, as you get past the initial stages of simply looking at different properties and trying to determine your exact needs, you may find buying a home is a bit more involved than you first realized. Most first-time home buyers go through feeling a little overwhelmed at the beginning and a top notch realtor can offer significant help for first time home buyers.
Financial Help for First Time Home Buyers
Plus 5 Important Tips
Think About Today and the Future
When you are looking around for the right home to purchase it is important to think about what will meet your needs today and in the future. Most of the time, buying a house is not only a financial commitment but also a commitment of time; meaning, you will probably live in the home for at least several years.
If you don’t have any children a small cottage on the lake might sound fun now, but if you decide to have kids in a few years it may become impractical very quickly. Thinking about your current lifestyle and how it might change in the coming years is an important consideration and can help make your home purchase successful on a long-term basis.
Choose a Realtor Carefully
Choosing the realtor you work with is a very important consideration, perhaps the most important. A good real estate agent can help make the home buying process much easier and much more successful. Real estate agents are experienced professionals who know what to look for, what to be careful of and all the important details that you will need to take care of throughout your first home purchase.
Some real estate agencies offer special programs that can provide significant help for first time home buyers such as down payment assistance, tax credits and special mortgage programs. There are even a select few real estate agents that are willing to give up a portion of their commission and offer it to home buyers as a cash back rebate. If restrictions on cash back rebates exist due to guidelines of the lender, then buyers can apply the rebate towards closing costs instead. Either way it is a significant financial bonus and can provide tremendous help for first time home buyers.
Pay Attention to the Type of Mortgage You Accept
Knowing the price range of home you can really afford is based on many factors such as your credit score and your debt to income ratio. Knowing your budget from the lenders perspective is very important so you do not waste your time looking at properties that do not fit your budget and do not fit a lender’s criteria either. A well-seasoned realtor can assist you with the mortgage pre-qualification process so you are ready to not only make an offer on a property, but you are actually able to secure a loan and close on the property successfully.
In some trending real estate markets the seller will not even consider an offer unless the buyer has a pre-qualified certificate from a lender. Working with the right realtor who can help you get pre-qualified and who is also affiliated with multiple lenders, title companies and home inspection services will help you be prepared for a successful buying process. Additionally, it will allow you to negotiate on the selling price of a home from a position of strength.
The details, terms and costs involved with your mortgage are important for knowing how much a home will cost you on a monthly basis and over the length of the entire term of a mortgage. Knowing if there is a free down payment program associated with the loan, the interest rate, term and closing costs are just a few of the considerations you should be clear about before committing to a mortgage. One very important element of a mortgage is if the interest rate is fixed or variable.
A fixed interest rate will give you a set rate of interest for the entire term of the mortgage, which will result in a predictable monthly payment that is the same month after month from the very first month until the last payment is made. A variable rate mortgage will typically offer a fixed rate for a short period such as 1 year, 3 years or 5 years and then the rate will fluctuate based on a set parameter such as the London Interbank Offered Rate, also referred to as LIBOR.
Other Expenses In Addition to Your Mortgage Payment
We all know it is important to make sure you can afford the monthly payment for a new home, but what about the other costs involved with home ownership? Besides your monthly mortgage payment, there will be other costs involved with owning a home that some first-time buyers may not have thought about. Take some time to make a list of all the possible expenses that will fall under normal maintenance for any property you are considering.
For instance; will you need to maintain your yard up to the standards set by the neighborhood homeowners association which means purchasing lawn maintenance equipment or hiring a service to do it for you. What are the costs for your monthly water, electric and gas bills? Is there adequate WiFi and or cable service available and the fees associated with it.
Keeping a home in top condition is not only important for maintaining a quality standard of living and following the rules of the HOA, city ordinances or even just implied rules based on how your neighbors care for their homes but also for the resale value of a home.
When you look around at all the different properties available it is always a good idea to listen to the advice of your realtor on what homes present the best resale value opportunities. Depending on the area you are in, there will be certain properties that lend themselves to higher potential resale values due to the number of bedrooms, how much property the home sits upon, the school district or other factors.
An experienced realtor will know the area well and what will sell quickly. Listening to their advice will not only ensure a good decision today but can also save you from big headaches when you try to sell the property many years from now.
An Experienced Realtor is the Best Help for First Time Home Buyers
Buying your first home or even your next home can be a little intimidating and it does involve making several careful decisions. However, working with an experienced realtor who works for you specifically as your buyer’s agent rather than a transaction agent will help keep the process smooth and successful.
“We cannot imagine a better home buying experience. Our Realtor was professional, courteous, and straightforward and did whatever it took to get us a fair deal and made sure that we were buying a home that was right for us. On top of all of that, they offer a 1% rebate back on the purchase price of the home! I would recommend them without any hesitation… you simply won’t find a better realtor. They gave us $3850 cash rebate when we purchased our home through them. Thank you Kellie and Kent Lighthall.”
Stay on your goal to purchase your first home and explore the available programs offered by some realtors; like down payment assistance and home buyer’s cash back rebate program as both are available to all home buyers first time or next time purchasers.