Tips for First Time Home Buyers

by Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc. on June 28, 2011

Are you a first time home buyer? Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your home search:    

1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.

 2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home and most likely you will need to compromise some. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.

 3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. The American Bankers Association strongly urges that you know the difference between “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved.” “Getting pre-qualified is a casual process where the lender tells you how much you should be able to borrow based on how much money you make, how much debt you have and how much you have to put down on a house. Pre-approval occurs only after you actually apply for the loan and the lender gives you in writing the amount you can borrow.” When you find a lender and decide on a mortgage that is best for you it makes good sense to get pre-approved. This will be an advantage when you do find the home on which you’d like to make an offer.

4. Decide your moving timeline. If you currently rent, when is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? Will you move before school begins in the fall, ensuring your family is settled? There are a number of factors that will help you determine the best time for your move.

5. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period of time? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

6. Interview a couple of real estate brokers to find one with whom you are most comfortable. Often times friends or family recommend agents with whom they have had favorable experiences. Interview them. Finding a good fit with your real estate broker will ultimately make your home buying experience more fun and successful.

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