First Time Home Buyers
CREATE YOUR WISH LIST
- Develop your home wish list. Then, prioritize the features on your list.
- Select where you want to live. Compile a list of three or four neighborhoods you'd like to live in, taking into account items such as schools, recreational facilities, area expansion plans, and safety.
- Be realistic. It's OK to be picky, but don't be unrealistic with your expectations. There's no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
CALCULATE YOUR COSTS
- Start saving. Do you have enough money saved to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20 percent of the purchase price saved as a down payment. Also, don't forget to factor in closing costs. Closing costs - including taxes, attorney's fee, and transfer fees average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price.
- Calculate the costs of home ownership. This should include property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
- Ask questions. Buyers who don't ask enough questions of their lender sometimes end up missing out on the best deal.
- Act quickly. Not acting quickly enough to make a decision could lead to someone else buying the house.
- Find the right agent. Select an agent who’s willing to help you through the home buying process.
- Make a strong offer. Make your offer look appealing to a seller so you're guaranteed to get your dream home.
- Think about resale. The average first-time buyer only stays in a home for four years.
- Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.
- Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.
- Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.