First-Time Home Buyers
Owning a home may be your dream, but for the purchase to be the happy and satisfying experience it was meant to be, you need to ensure that you are financially and mentally prepared for the responsibilities that come with it.
Some people have a notion that home ownership is like renting, but with the power to have pets and paint the walls whatever color you like. However, while these privileges are available to homeowners in most areas, they come with the responsibilities of a mortgage, taxes, and home maintenance. Preparing for home ownership requires you to take critical stock of your finances and your expectations.
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.
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 to pay the mortgage can very quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a point of pride. It's 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 or downtrodden areas, for example, it can buy a very comfortable residence and ample acreage. In highly sought-after urban areas, however, it may not even buy a 400 square foot bachelor suite.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Prioritize your actual needs vs. wants. Do you really need a third bathroom? Do you really need five bedrooms? Do you really need 2 acres? Determining your real needs vs. your wants will help narrow your search to more homes that fit within your budget. Make a list and check it twice, narrowing down your criteria will not only help you through the search process but assist your real estate broker by only recommending homes that you want to see.
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. We want you to find the home that will make you happy and successful in real estate ownership.
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 home 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. The maze of paperwork has only just begun when you make your first offer but rest assured your real estate broker will walk you through the process, ensure that the proper forms are being used that will protect you during the home buying process, and recommend that you seek legal advice for any questions or concerns that go above and beyond our scope. When you make an offer, you're entering into a legally binding contract that has repercussions for both parties in the event of default. It's imperative that you fully understand what you're signing and agreeing to and our real estate brokers will assist you in this process.
Get all the necessary inspections done. A home inspector will check for signs of harmful materials like asbestos, lead paint, and mold. They'll also check for evidence of pests, faulty wiring, and leaks. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection done means that you could be stuck in a home with a bad case of black mold and no recourse other than to pay for its removal. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars, but again, this is more than worth it in the end. There are several inspectors in the area that we'd be happy to recommend.
Do a final walkthrough before closing the deal. We strongly recommend a final walkthrough to all our clients; this step is just as important as any other you've already been through during the home buying process. A final walkthrough ensures that the home is in the same condition as when you made your offer. Things to check for during the walkthrough include any damage the seller may have caused while moving out, check areas where the seller had furniture to make sure there's no damage you couldn't see before, check that the seller left all the appliances that were agreed to in the contract, and make sure all personal property and trash has been removed.
From the first meeting 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!