5 Things to Do Before Buying Your First Home

search for houseBuying a home is something that takes planning, preparation, and serious thought. There are many aspects to consider before jumping into the real estate market for the first time, and it is in your best interest to be a well-informed home buyer. Think about these five things before you buy your first home.

1. Timing

The first thing you need to assess is if you are at a point in your life where buying a home is really the best option. Take into consideration your future plans on getting married and having kids. Determine if your job situation is going to be long-term or short-term, and make sure you are and will remain financially stable. It’s also important to think about whether now is the time to buy or rent; if you aren’t sure whether you’ll still want to be in the area in five years, or if you can’t fully commit to buying a home, you may want to rent a place before you jump into anything long-term.

2. What is Available

While you may be reared and ready to start the search for a home, the market may not be on the same page. Make sure you know what you’re looking for in a house, but be prepared to not have all your needs met immediately. Finding the perfect home will take time, and it depends on what properties are available and whether or not they meet your needs, wants, and budget.

3. Mortgages

Once you’ve made the decision to become a home buyer, the next step is figuring out if you qualify for a mortgage and getting pre-approved. Knowing your price-point before you start looking at houses will save you the grief and time of looking at places you can’t afford. Getting pre-approved will also let the seller know that you are serious when you make an offer on a home.

4. Remember Extra Costs

Unfortunately, buying a home comes with many additional costs that you will want to factor into your budget beforehand. The most common cost is the down payment, which is usually a large chunk of money upfront. However, there are also things like closing costs, property insurance, and taxes that will need to be paid upfront as well. It all adds up, so it’s good to know beforehand how much money you will really need to buy your desired house.

5. Be Realistic

Above all, you have to be realistic when it comes to buying your first home. It’s a good idea to know how to bid – have your real estate agent clue you in about smart bidding based on the neighborhood and the seller’s asking price. If you put in a bid that is way below asking price, you probably are setting yourself up for disappointment. Along the same lines, if the market is tight, there will be less negotiating room and a low-ball offer could lose you the house. Keep in mind that there may be other offers on the house, so jumping at the chance to get a smart, sensible bid in will be in the best interest of getting the property you want.