Buying a home is a major decision in the life of an average renter. The ability to move into homeownership is something that we all should aspire to, yet first-time homebuyers are getting older worldwide. Buying a home requires a significant strategy to take full advantage of all that the market offers. Building your strategy early takes quite a bit of research and a series of well-reasoned pieces of advice for searching for your first-home. But with a little patience, everyone can make the most of their home buying experience and find a great deal on the perfect home for their needs.
Start with the help of a realtor.
Approaching real estate agents in your local market is the best way to begin the process of researching for your first home. Professionals in the industry like Venterra CEO John Foresi recommend scheduling multiple viewings and seeing at least five or six homes as you search for the perfect combination of style, location, and price level. Leaning on a real estate agent to identify properties that match your specifications is the best way to find properties that meet your needs and restrictions.
Real estate agents are beneficial when it comes to narrowing down your search for the perfect property. Often, first time home buyers don’t realize that they should be searching for homes with plumbed water filter systems, easy transportation links, and a quiet neighborhood with an unobstructed sky view. Similarly, features that cannot be changed about the home are crucial make or break pieces of the deal and are often overlooked by first-time buyers.
For instance, school zoning is an important aspect of a home’s location, just like a neighborhood’s water quality. These features are built into the home; you can’t build a school nearby or change the water’s quality coming into the property. So researching these qualities before visiting is crucial to including or removing certain properties from your list before taking the time to view them. The more homes you see, the quicker you will pick up on these intrinsic properties that aren’t right on the surface of a home’s value.
Evaluate the big ticket fixes before buying.
A home is sold as is in the vast majority of purchasing agreements. This means that your roof, foundation, and flooring all come with the house, as they currently stand. A home with an aging roof is a prime recipient of a price drop to match the additional cash input that will naturally come with the home. However, many homeowners try to slide this repair requirement past unsuspecting buyers. First time homebuyers are most at risk of being duped by this trick. With the help of a realtor and your own instincts, research, and checklist, you can evaluate the quality of the roof, windows, countertops, and bathroom walls before putting in an offer.
Many buyers love chasing after homes that require a few fixes like this. With the help of one of many Silver Spring roofing companies, you might be able to bag a discount on the asking price and then replace the roof so that your move will be into a home with a guaranteed quality covering. Replacing the roof instead of searching for a home with a newer covering already is a great way to lock in a discounted rate. Homeowners have to contend with their roof’s age when selling a home because these structures average about a 20-year lifespan. Any older and a buyer has to assume that the roof could fail at any moment, requiring a costly replacement.
Get your finances in order before looking to buy.
Finally, a first-time homebuyer should always look to order their financial situation in the months that lead up to an offer on a home. Ideally, your credit score will already look fantastic, but for those with less a top notch credit history, the six months to a year before you look to buy are critical for creating a trail of responsible borrowing history. Paying back your revolving credit card debt on time is a must, but you should also try to pay above the minimum payment amount each month during this period. Paying down your credit cards will help you with your long-term cash flow by reducing your overall debt burden, but this also shows that you are a responsible borrower that takes his or her obligations seriously. This bodes well when you approach your financial institution in pursuit of a mortgage loan.
Of course, the addition of a sizable deposit is also a benefit. The more you can pay out of pocket, the less you will have to borrow, reducing your long term debt burden. Improving your financial health is a precarious balancing act that pits savings against debt repayment. Still, to walk this line effectively, you must work on both segments of your financial portfolio. A great way to do this is to consider your savings transfers and debt repayment as priority spending categories. Rather than accounting for these after other transactions like takeaway meals or entertainment, putting them first ensures that they receive the funds required to provide this solid financial history to your bank or credit union.
It cannot be stressed enough that the healthier your finances are today, the lower your expected interest rate will be. A low-interest rate offer translates into thousands of dollars in savings, so taking this seriously is crucially important, especially for first-time buyers who are at the greatest risk of being taken advantage of by the banking industry.
Buying your first home is an exciting time, but it requires months of planning to get right and quite a few home visits. Get your checklist in order with the help of a professional real estate agent with years of experience in the local market and begin to manicure your finances as early as possible to make the experience one to remember for all the right reasons.