Hire an Agent
While it’s understandable for buyers to browse the market’s inventory online, hiring a Realtor will save you time in the long run. Here’s why:
- An agent can send you active listings that fit your parameters so you won’t have to waste time looking yourself.
- Agents are often aware of new listings that are not yet on the market or online.
- Agents can preview homes for you to save time and energy spent on your home search.
- An agent can generally spot overpriced listings or those that may move quickly and advise you accordingly.
Get Approved for a Loan
It’s not always necessary to have a mortgage broker or bank in your back pocket before buying a home, but it is smart to get loan preapproval in advance. This will ensure that you know for certain how much home you can afford to buy. Many sellers won’t look at an offer if they don’t have assurance that the buyer can get a loan, most commonly in the form of a preapproval or prequalification letter.
For many first-time homebuyers, the goal is to buy a house and get a loan with a comfortable monthly payment that won’t keep them up at night. You can ask your agent for a list of potentially suitable mortgage brokers or check with your own bank or credit union.
Plan for a realistic Down Payment
Did you know that you don’t have to make a 20 percent down payment to buy a home? Some loan programs enable you to purchase a home with zero down or as little as 3.5 percent down. The key is making sure your down payment secures an affordable monthly mortgage payment without draining your savings account. Be sure to calculate in closing costs, moving expenses, and repairs that may come up.
Find a Home to Buy
Buying a home can be an overwhelming and emotionally wearing process. Finding the right home is not always an easy task. Schedule a maximum of five-seven home showings at a time because any more than that will make a buyer’s head spin.
Most buyers conduct a lot of research online before ever stepping foot into a home. According to the National Association of Realtors, buyers spend an average of 6-8 weeks trying to figure out where they want to live. Once the neighborhood is selected, most buyers end up buying a home after two or three home tours.
Buying your first home comes with many big decisions and can be intimidating if you do it alone. Steer clear of these common mistakes and you’ll be on the road to your dream home in no time!