Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
Buying a home can be complicated, but home buyers who come to the process prepared and knowledgeable by working with a fantastic real estate professional can get a great deal on the home they want. Here are tips and things you should know before you dive into shopping for your first home:
Talk to a lender first! Before you go to open houses or visit properties with your real estate professional, make sure you know exactly what you can afford based on your credit score, assets and income. In addition to your new monthly mortgage payment, you’ll need to come to the table with cash for your down payment, closing costs and an extra cushion to handle moving costs and any initial maintenance and decorating.
Who you chose as your agent is critical. Your agent is the person you’re going to rely on throughout the entire process, and they will bring with them a team of professionals from the inspector to the loan team and contractors, and you only want to work with the very best people in the business. If you use a relative or a friend, that person needs to have a wealth of great experience. In this industry, it’s not enough to just be a nice person.
As a buyer, it may only cost a few hundred dollars to use an agent, but it will save you thousands in money and time in the long run. For the biggest investment of your life, you need someone who can help you get through what can be stressful times.
Know your websites and services. One of the biggest benefits of working with a real estate agent is the access they get to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the best source for accurate, up-to-date information, including insider information and data about properties that only professional real estate agents can access. This isn’t the same information you’ll get from national, consumer-oriented websites like Zillow and Trulia, which rely on algorithms and often out-of-date information. You need the MLS and an experienced real estate professional with a well-trained eye to see what the real deal is with any property.