Buying a first home can be overwhelming, however, smart planning and preparation can help reduce stress and may make the process faster and easier. If you’re a first time home buyer, these tips will help you get started with the home-buying process.
Find a Lender and Gather Your Paperwork
Lenders require a lot of paperwork and go through many steps to verify that a home buyer is capable of making monthly payments for a mortgage. Getting started early with this process can help ensure that you’re ready to make an offer when the right home comes along.
Start by finding a lender. Get the best deal by shopping around. Contact lenders with good reputations in the community. Before calling loan officers, write down any questions you may have about the mortgage application and approval process. As you ask each loan officer your questions, pay close attention to their communication skills, and choose a loan officer who can describe the process in terms you understand.
When a home buyer first approaches a loan officer for a mortgage, they start by disclosing information about their assets, salary and other financial information. The loan officer uses this information to determine approximately how much that buyer can reasonably borrow. This process is known as pre-qualification.
During the pre-approval process, the borrower fills out a formal application for a loan, and provides documentation to support their application. Because the pre-approval process requires the borrower to provide proof of their financial status, the pre-approval process carries more weight with home sellers and can make an offer seem more legitimate.
Look At Listings
Take a peek at listings in the area where you would like to buy. Look at pictures and compare prices and amenities. Browsing the listings on a regular basis will give you a sense of how much you can expect to spend and what kind of house falls within your budget. Looking through listings can also give you a sense of the kind of choices that you’ll need to make when you start looking for a home in earnest. For example: fireplace or no fireplace? Pool or no pool? Busy road or quiet neighborhood? Answering these questions ahead of time will help you narrow your search.
Attend Open Houses
Listings can be vague, so open houses can help home buyers get perspective on the quality of the homes they’re seeing in the listings. Since open houses are free events, home buyers should attend open houses in a range of neighborhoods and price ranges. This exploratory process can help home buyers decide which neighborhoods and which price ranges are right for their needs.
Prepare to Move
Moving is hard work and time-consuming as well. Trying to pack up an apartment or a rental house in the midst of buying a home can be stressful, but getting started early can help the home buying process go more smoothly. To do this, get rid of clutter, box up personal items and collect packing materials like boxes and packing tape. This is a good time to have a garage sale or donate used items to charity.
Work With An Experienced Real Estate Agent
Working with an experienced real estate agent can help ensure a successful home purchase. Call agents in the community where you hope to buy. Ask each agent how he or she helps first time home buyers through the home purchasing process.
No matter who you choose to work with, be sure it’s someone you can talk to and who understands your goals for your upcoming real estate transaction. Summer can be an intense time on the housing market, with high inventory and also a lot of buyers. It’s very important to have an agent that you can trust and communicate with clearly.