First Steps for First-Time Home Buyers
It’s decided. You’re ready to buy your Very. Own. Home.
You’ve been dreaming about paint colors and a picturesque housewarming party in your lush, landscaped backyard and the excitement to take this next step is radiating out of you.
Enthusiasm this strong is absolutely necessary to becoming a homeowner, but if left unbridled, it can often times lead eager homebuyers to put the cart before the horse.
Having an open mind when you’re looking for your new home is key, especially for many first-time buyers who are on a budget. Be careful not to soak in too much HGTV and make sure you’re being realistic for what is available in the area that you want to live in.
Reining it in at the start can help you avoid costly mistakes and manage your expectations. Here are the very first steps any first-time homebuyer needs to take to tackle the home-buying process:
Get Pre-Approved Before You Start House Hunting
Once the decision has been made to buy a home, many people are so excited to get down to it that they skip over the very important first step on the path to homeownership: talking to a mortgage lender.
A mortgage lender’s job is to give you a realistic picture of the loans available to you and to get you pre-approved for a mortgage. Coming on the home buying scene with pre-approval proves that you mean business. Especially in hot real estate markets, you want to present yourself as a hassle-free buyer. You’re pre-approval verifies that you aren’t “just shopping” and a seller can trust that you can actually sign the check.
Hire a REALTOR®
Listing sites are great, but REALTORS® are on the ground in your community every day, and because of that, they know a lot more than what you see online. Sometimes they’ve seen the same listing in person many times, or they know about considerations you’d never think of, like “That one has been on the market forever because…”
Your REALTOR® is your rock in what can be a really confusing, stressful, and involved experience. They’ve been through a lot of deals, so they know what can go wrong and have seen many of the mistakes first-time homebuyers make most often. Moreover, they’re your sounding board. Sometimes it’s hard to know which direction to go during the home buying process, and just being able to talk it out with a third party who has your back is huge. A good REALTOR® is someone who will be in your corner until the closing and, in some cases, beyond.
And as for their commission, that’s paid by the seller, not the buyer.
Your first home is a big purchase—maybe even the biggest one you’ll have ever made up to this point in your life. Because of that, a REALTOR® will take the weight off your shoulders by helping you to find a home, negotiate a deal, and see the process through until closing.