Owning a home is a terrific goal to have and one which could secure your financial future, but in order for the purchase to be the happy and satisfying experience it should be, you need to make sure you are prepared for the responsibilities that come with it.
Some people think that home ownership is just like renting, just with the additional option to have pets and paint the walls whatever color you like. However, these privileges come with some additional responsibilities like paying your mortgage and your annual real-estate taxes, homeowners insurance, complying with HOA rules and regs, on-going home maintenance, etc. Don't settle for just any old agent to guide you - get an experienced professional!
Questions for Prospective Homeowners
Are You Ready to Buy?
Owning your own home is about more than just being able to decorate any way you like; it's about being prepared to maintain your home over the years, realizing that part of your income and time will go towards repairs and maintenance. It's about being willing to take the risks of home ownership with a realistic expectation of the rewards. See a list of commonly-used real estate terms using this link.
How Much Can You Afford?
It can be discouraging to find that your salary won't stretch as far as the home you want to own. However, sacrificing a huge part of your income just to pay the mortgage can very quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a point of pride. It can be better to buy a modest home now and look at purchasing your "dream home" in a few years.
What Is Your Debt-To-Income Ratio?
This is something that lenders take very seriously. Your overall debt should not be more than 40% of your income, and your housing debt should not be more than 32%. What 32% of your income will buy depends on where you want to live. In rural areas for example, it can buy a very comfortable residence and maybe some acreage. In highly sought-after urban areas however, it may not even buy a 400 square foot bachelor pad.
What Do You Want?
Do you like the idea of cleaning your own gutters? Do you flinch at the thought of constant lawn care? Would you rather just pay a fee every month and have everything done for you? Would obeying rules about when you can have your garbage cans out bother you, or do you want to live in a neighborhood where everything is 'just so'? The answers to these kinds of questions can help you narrow down the search for the right type of property for you.
We Can Help
You need a good agent who will work hard for you. Our real estate team is dedicated to helping you find the right home, at the best price, and with the financing that's the best fit for you. We want you to find the home that will make you happy and successful in real estate ownership, and we've been doing it successfully for decades.
When you hire us to help you buy your first home, we want to know what you want and how much you can afford. Then we'll find a way to merge these two priorities and find a residence that you'll enjoy owning.
Keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical sense, so keep your feelings in check. Keep a list handy of the features that you need and want in a home, and judge each home by the list instead of by details that could distract you from your goal. When you're alone with your agent, you can go over the pros and cons of each home. We can help you stay on track while still keeping our eyes out for a great property.
Make the offer. This can be a maze of terms like "buyer", "seller", "fixtures", "deposit", and "completion". We'll be happy to prepare the paperwork and go through it with you before submitting it. Remember, the seller may reject or counter your offer, so even at this late date, avoid setting your heart on the home you hope to own. You'll probably have to write a deposit check that proves the seriousness of your offer.
Get all necessary inspections done. A home inspector will check for things like evidence of pests, faulty wiring, roof leaks, working appliances, doors, windows, etc. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection means that you could be stuck in a home with problems and no recourse other than to pay for repairs. You can read more about home inspections here. Ultimately, inspections will probably cost several hundred dollars, but again, this is generally money well-spent.
Do a final walk-through before closing the deal. We'd be happy to do this with you to make sure that everything agreed upon is completed prior to the final signing.
From the first interview that determines your requirements to the moment that you receive the keys, we can help you with the complicated process of buying a home. Don't hesitate to contact us to find out more about how we can make the home buying process easier!
Contact us for more information about first-time home purchasing.