If you’re considering buying a home for the first time, congratulations. Home ownership is a wonderful thing, but it can be a complex process that you may need help with. Armed with the following tips, hints and facts, you’ll know a bit more of what to look for and expect when you begin your search for your dream home.
Know What Kind of Home You Want
The first step in finding your own home is knowing the type of house that will fit you. There are several options to choose from, whether you are looking for a single-family home, a condo, multi-family building or a townhouse. Each type of property has its own ups and downs, benefits and disadvantages, so you need to first determine which sort of home will be right for you.
If you have questions or reservations about a house, don’t hesitate to bring them up and don’t feel guilty about doing so. This isn’t a cupcake or even a car you’re buying, this is most likely the largest investment you are going to make. You definitely want to make sure the home you are considering is one you’re going to love for years to come.
Know How Much You Can Afford
While most of us would love to live in a 30,000 square foot mansion, the reality of having a limited amount of funds means that we have to consider mortgage payments. Look over your finances carefully. Just because you qualify for a loan of a certain amount, that doesn’t mean you can necessarily afford it. Having an honest outlook about your financial situation can help keep you from getting in a financial bind later.
Consider getting the help of a professional during these initial stages of the process. A broker can help you find a loan that is right for you, and a real estate agent can help make finding the home you want an easier process. A good broker can also go over all of the options you have for loans, including a breakdown on your interest rate. Finding a low interest rate is important, as you will have lower mortgage payments and may even be able to pay your home off earlier.
Ready For Paperwork?
Once you’ve found the home you want, and looked into all of your mortgage options, it’s time to make an offer to the current house’s owner. This is another area where a real estate agent can come in handy, as he or she could help you select the correct amount to offer as well as help you with any conditions you might want to place on the sale. There can be some back and forth of offers and counter offers, and you and the owner will either reach a mutually satisfactory amount or give up.
Once the offer is accepted, a portion of the money goes into escrow. This is essentially a promise that you will buy the house, provided you find nothing wrong with it, and is normally a period of 30 days. During this time, you will want to have your dream home inspected and make sure there are no major issues.
Closing and Moving In
Once anything wrong during the inspection has been dealt with, either by you or more often the seller, then comes the most exciting part of the process. Provided nothing pops up at the last minute, you’ll sign a ton of paperwork and soon be able to move in to your new dream home. During this time, the bank will likely have the home appraised and do a title search, which is when you’ll want to look at homeowner’s insurance and complete all the paperwork. Once you’ve got the keys, the house is yours. Give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it.
Think About the Future
When you have a new home, it’s time to start thinking about the future. What would happen to your home should something happen to you? In many cases, your loved ones may be unable to continue paying the mortgage and would lose the home. It’s important to compare life insurance policies to find one that will pay off your home should the unthinkable happen.
I especially like the advice about knowing what you can afford. Definitely don’t rely on the realtor or other people that will benefit from the sale to tell you what you can afford.
@Greg- That’s one of the most important factors in finding a home; knowing what you can afford. I think it’s easy to forget about the budget and get caught up in the houses the realtor is showing you, but if it’s out of your price range, what’s the point?