Tips for First Time Home Buyers

With low interest rates and current home prices, 2011 may be the year many first time home buyers decide to purchase homes. MSNBC recently published the article Top 10 Tips for Buying Your First Home. If you are a first time home buyer, definitely take these ten tips to heart.

The number one tip is to check your credit score. Please note that checking your credit report is a different process than checking your credit score. Both are important, however, if a home purchase is something you’d like to pursue.

Tips two and three involve setting a budget for your home purchase and making sure you can afford the house payments. Tip three suggests you pay yourself the difference between your current rent and what your potential house payment may be. What a terrific suggestion! It’s a great way to build a nest egg and experience how the increased housing costs will effect your ability to meet your monthly budget.

Tip four, Meet with a Lender, is a step that can be missed by first time home buyers. Take the time to get pre-qualified for a home loan. When you decide that you definitely want to purchase a home, meet again with your lender to become pre-approved for a mortgage. The pre-approval letter from your lender will strengthen the offer you present to a seller.

Tip five is Find a Reputable Realtor. Having a professional agent at your side, armed with knowledge specific to the area where you want to purchase a home, is imperative. Speak with agents at open houses; ask for agent referrals from friends, co-worker and family members. Spend the time to find the agent whose work style and communication style works best with yours.

Tips six and seven regard the home search itself. What’s more important to you– yard or no yard? Are you more interested in a condo or townhouse than a house? Do you need a garage? What neighborhoods fit your lifestyle best? Create your pros and cons list to guide your search. Compile a list of features that are must haves and what things you are willing to compromise on. The ability to compromise will make taking your dream of home ownership and making it a reality a smoother process.

You find the home you want to purchase. Tip eight, Make a Reasonable Offer, is important, especially if the home is “The House.” Your realtor will give you advice on what is reasonable and help you craft an offer that is best for the situation. Once your offer is accepted, don’t skimp on Tip 9. Get a home inspection done by a professional inspector.

Your offer has been accepted, the home inspected and you move forward with the purchase. Tip ten, Finalize the Details, is the home stretch. Go through the details with your realtor. A quote from tip ten: “A good realtor will have a checklist to make sure everything is accomplished in time for settlement.” Stay in close contact with both your realtor and lender during this time period.

If you have any questions about the home buying process, please make an appointment with an agent. It will be time well spent.