Buying your first home is a big step and requires a lot of thought, patience, planning, and a need to work with professionals who understand the process. Unless you’ve got enough cash stashed away to pay for the house in full, it’s not as simple as walking up to a house you like and making an offer.
TAKE A LOOK AT THESE 12 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY YOUR FIRST HOME.
- Work with a professional. Legally, a real estate agent must be licensed in order to help you with the process. Go a step further and work with a Realtor, someone who belongs to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and subscribes to a strict code of ethics and professionalism.
- Check your credit to get an idea of whether you can get a mortgage or not. You may have to take some time to improve your score before you start a serious house search.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking. This tells sellers you’re serious and that you’re likely to be approved for financing.
- Realize you don’t have to save for a 20% down payment. Many lenders can offer mortgages with as little as 3.5% down.
- Think about what you can really afford. You may be pre-approved for the house of your dreams, but spending less may be better for your budget and your long term financial security.
- Don’t fall in love with the first house you see, and don’t imagine yourself in a home until you have an accepted contract and a firm close date. Until then, anything can happen.Deals fall through all the time.
- Be prepared to see lots of homes and make several offers. Depending on your market, you may be one of a dozen people vying for the same home, or you may have an overwhelming number of homes to choose from.
- Consider your lifestyle when choosing neighborhoods. Do you need to be close to work? Are walkability and access to mass transit important? What about the school systems?
- Order the home inspection once you find a house you want. Make sure you know about any major problems before you get to the closing table.
- Think about how much work you really want to do as a homeowner. If you hate the thought of mowing a lawn or making repairs to a roof or other parts of the home, consider different types of homes like a condo or townhouse.
- Work with a reliable insurance agent to find the right homeowner’s insurance policy. An independent agency works with multiple providers, giving you plenty of options.
- Don’t change jobs or take on any new debt until after you close. If not, you could stop or delay everything while your mortgage company starts the approval process all over again.
There are plenty of things to know and do when you’re buying your first home. Getting yourself prepared is just a part of the process. Once you find the perfect home, make sure you think about protecting that home with a good insurance policy.
We’ve been helping homeowners throughout Charlotte and the surrounding areas protect their homes since 1992. When you’re ready to buy your first home, give us a call so that we can make sure that you’re covered, too. Not quite ready to buy a home? We also offer renters insurance policies, which offer some very affordable peace of mind for those who are renting.