Real Estate Hacks for the First-Time Homeowner
For many people, a home is the biggest purchase they will make in their lifetime. With this in mind, it only makes sense that buying a home is nerve-racking for those who are first-time homebuyers. From getting your credit approved to going to open houses and figuring out your closing costs, the home buying process can seem incredibly overwhelming and makes a lot of people nervous. In order to help you navigate this process from start to finish without a hassle, our realtors have come up with a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you embark into the home-buying journey.
Have an emergency fund
It goes without saying that owning a home can be expensive. There will be times you will have to pay a good chunk of money for a repair or a remodel, so it is always a good idea to have an emergency fund. Even if your mortgage payment is less than your current rent payment, remember that you are solely responsible for all of the home’s upkeep and maintenance. This can be anything from spending thousands of dollars to repair your sewer pipes, to installing new windows or even getting a new roof. An emergency fund ensures you are prepared to handle these costs and even prevent you from going into debt to cover these expenses.
Prepare for closing costs
Many homeowners think they won’t have to pay anything until their first mortgage payment is due. This is untrue, however, simply because of the closing costs associated with the sale of the home. These closing fees will cover important details such as a home inspection, an appraisal, purchasing home owner’s insurance, filing for a credit report, and paying for a real estate attorney. Your agent will let you know ahead of time how much to bring to the closing meeting, but it is a good idea to at least set aside about 3-5% of the purchase price of the home.
Take advantage of the open house
Open houses can be fun because you’re looking at potential new homes, but you need to remember that these are educational opportunities. Don’t just go to the house and look around; you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to speak to the current home owner. Ask them important questions such as:
- When was the last time you remodeled each room?
- How old are the HVAC and air conditioning systems?
- What year was the home built?
- How much do they pay in monthly utilities?
- What is the neighborhood dynamic like?
- When was the last time the roof was replaced?
- Are there any foundation issues that need repair?
- What is the ventilation like in the rooms with the most humidity; i.e the kitchen and the bathroom(s)?
If you aren’t able to get enough face-to face-time with the owners, do not be afraid to schedule a second follow-up visit to get a better look!
Know what the home inspection covers
Your home inspection is a pivotal part of closing the sale, but the report will not cover all the ins and outs of the home. For example, a typical home inspection will not:
- Include mold, pests, and radon testing.
- Cover every crevice in the attic and roof, so they will not be able to see any potential damage.
- Be scheduled during a wet, rainy day. The landscaping of the home may be so that water pools and puddles all over the lawn and doesn’t drain properly.
Any prospective home buyer is allowed to visit the home during an inspection, so do not hesitate to go along and ask as many questions as you can think of! Typically, the home inspection will be one of the final deciding factors when it comes to your decision to close on the sale.
Buy for tomorrow, not today
Homes are long-term investments. While it can be easy to want to buy for your needs now, consider your long-term family goals when looking at the homes on the market. To determine if the home is right for you now and in your future, ask yourself questions like:
- Is the home big enough for you to start a family in?
- Is the school district reputable?
- Is the neighborhood safe?
- How close is the home to public transit (if available), major shopping centers, and shopping malls?
- Are there any other considerations that are important to me now and in the future?
If you can find a home that fits all the above for you and your future, then you know you have found the right property for all your needs both for the short-term and long-term. Purchasing your home should be an exciting, not overwhelming, time. We’d love to help you with your search, so contact our agents today and we’ll get started on finding the best home for you.