Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Top Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Aug 29, 2017 7:00 PM

For most individuals, a house is their biggest asset, which is why the decision to buy one should receive all the importance it warrants. A home purchase comes with numerous complexities that can intimidate a first-time buyer. Landing the ideal home is not just about looks, you must factor in elements like proper financing and market trends. One way a prospective home buyer can navigate through the muddled waters of home-purchase is to conduct sufficient research. Never settle for the first piece of real estate that piques your fancy. Knowing the essentials to stick to before you begin saves time, energy, and prevents you from common rookie mistakes. 


Financing

The funds you can put together for the down payment will influence your purchasing power. Some people save for years so that when the time comes to get a house, they don't have to borrow too much. Before you can start browsing property listings, learn how much banks are willing to lend you. Factor in your income and debts (debt to income ratio) when making the calculations. 

Look at your debt obligations and see if the monthly payments of a mortgage will be affordable to you. Typically, your housing expenses should make up approximately 30 percent of your income, although lenders are not strict about debt to income ratios. Shop for mortgage products with recommendations from friends and colleagues to see which ones are friendly to first-time homebuyers. Ask about state-funded programs that can reduce the total price of a property through.

How Much Home

Your financing ability is just one determinant of how much home is ideal. A house is a long-term commitment that carries a number of expenses. Think about the expense of maintaining it over the years? What about the taxes? Some buyers concentrate on the down payment and the monthly installments but forget every other cost of owning such an asset. 

Calculate the insurance that a particular property will require after buying it. If the house needs improvements, sum them up as well. Never settle for real estate investments that will be too much to handle down the line. Evaluate your goals, for instance, the number of children you have, or intend to have. 

Your Ideal Home

Figuring out the features you want in a home will relieve some of the pressure of finding the perfect one. A dream house means different things to various homeowners. Are you leaning toward a multifamily unit, condo, or townhouse? How many bathrooms do you need? Do you require a large yard? These questions help streamline the selection process. If you want a fixer-upper, how much renovation are you willing to undertake? 

You are spending quite a bit on this investment so it should be one you can live with. Have a list of objectives that you wish a property to fulfill. For instance, a new family may prefer real estate located near a school district while a middle-aged couple may want something secluded, fit for retirement in a few years. However, don't be too rigid with the features you want to avoid disappointment. 

Get Professional Assistance

Between qualifying yourself for a loan, getting all the documents ready, and deciding which property works best for you, it is easy to veer off the track on critical aspects. A real estate agent can ensure you don't overlook some things and jeopardize the entire process. The expertise of a property agent will prove invaluable when trying to narrow down your best options. After deciding the location, type of property, and budget, a professional knows where to direct you for viable choices. 

A real estate agent is familiar with current market trends and can inform you if the time is suited for a purchase. Due to market fluctuations, sometimes waiting a few weeks can mean saving a considerable amount on the total price of a home. An estate agent has no emotional investment in the buying process and is, therefore, less likely to commit common mistakes like picking a house based solely on looks. First-time buyers can find reliable real estate agents to work with by making objective comparisons depending on their services and costs.

The process of buying a home comes with a myriad of complications, which you can work out with the right knowledge. Put time into researching the do's and don'ts of a home purchase.

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