for First-Time Buyers
Meet with a mortgage
broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a
While knowing how
much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much
more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved.
You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes
that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the
buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment
in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're
interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified
for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious
buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally
nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them
when you close your loan.
- List of Needs & Wants:
Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have
(i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your
family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor,
etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would
like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that aren't absolutely
necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably
won't get everything on your wish list, but it will keep
you on track for what you're looking for.
- Representation by
Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working
for you, the buyer, not the seller.
- Focus & Organization:
In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will
assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such
items may include:
- One or
more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
- A file
of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along
with ads you've cut out from the newspaper.
and pen, for taking notes as you search.
or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual
properties, especially if you're attending a series of
Look at a potential property as if you are the seller.
Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on
school district, crime rate,
proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access)
and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source
of noise) features of the area?
- Visualize the house
empty & with your decor: Are the rooms
laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
- Be Objective: Instead
of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think
with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There
are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision
that you may regret later.
- Be Thorough:
A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses
in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written
the property inspected by a professional inspector.
a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of
- You want
to check to see that no changes have been made that weren't
agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came
with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling
- All the above may seem rather overwhelming.
That's why having a professional represent you and keep
track of all the details for you is high recommended. Please
email me or call me directly to discuss any of these matters
in further detail.
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