Buying your first home should be an exciting time in your life, but it can be hard to stay levelheaded when you can quickly become overwhelmed. You have to assess your own finances, learn unfamiliar financial jargon, conduct endless research, and focus on a million other things. Here are a few tips to make your first home buying experience a little less stressful.
Consider All Your Finances
Buying a home is most likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make. Naturally, you want to get your dollars’ worth for your investment. Make sure to check out and (if necessary) repair your credit score at least six months before you start searching for a home. Find out your mortgage options and whether there are any deals for first-time home buyers. Take your time with this stage, and shop around for the best deals and rates. This is the biggest and most important step.
Dream Big, but Dream Realistically
Expecting to find your picture-perfect dream home is unrealistic. Make a list of what matters most to you. For example, location, condition, number of bedrooms or price, then rank your preferences by need-to-haves, want-to-haves, and cannot-haves. Bring a physical copy of this checklist to every home visit. Also, look at the potential that each home holds and realize that a house is not just a place to live, but an investment. Consider what long-term plans you could make for the property in terms of how your home will grow with you and how it will sell years from now.
Additionally, make sure to read the homeowners’ association contract of each place you visit. This may radically affect how you occupy your home, your plans to grow a family or your options to rent.
Know Your Budget, Stick to Your Budget
Before you commit, look at all the expenses when you are budgeting for a home. This includes, but is not limited to the price of the property, principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and utilities, along with costs of commuting, renovating, and additions. These not-so-hidden costs can destroy your budget and leave you unable to afford your home.
Deciding on a home is not the final stage of home buying. Even after finding all the hidden costs and clauses of home buying, make sure to protect yourself with a home inspection and search for contingency clauses that protect you in the case of financial difficulties and surprises. Start early and do your best to close quickly so that the home doesn’t slip away to another buyer.
There are so many tips out there for home buying that it can be overwhelming. Make sure to do your research, prepare an emergency fund, save for a down payment of 20 percent, get your credit into excellent shape and don’t buy more than you can afford. Your dream home is out there waiting for you!