The process of buying a home can be overwhelming—especially if it’s your first time. You want to make sure you’re getting the best house at the best value, but without prior experience, how can you really know? Here are some helpful pointers for first-time homebuyers:
1. Avoid making large purchases before you apply for your loan
If you’re in the market for a new home, avoid buying any big-ticket items. Instead, keep your credit profile clean and steady. Lenders might hesitate to give you a loan if they see you’ve recently accumulated a lot of debt or moved money around.
2. Don’t obsess about buying at the perfect time
Trying to predict the housing market is difficult at best. Values go up and down… and up and down again. The best move is to simply buy a home when you find it, and when you can afford it. If you hesitate on a great opportunity because you’ve heard you might get a better deal later, you may miss out on your dream home.
3. Secondary costs add up
When it comes to purchasing a home, new buyers tend to focus only on the mortgage. But don’t forget all those other secondary costs: property taxes, HOA dues, maintenance—you’ll need to budget for those as well.
4. Hire an inspector
Hiring a home inspector may be the most worthwhile $300 you’ll ever spend. Once you’re serious about a home, a home inspector will evaluate it for any issues relating to structure, electrical and much more. Inspectors can reassure you on your decision to buy, or let you avoid a potential money pit.
5. Scope the area
Before you buy, make sure that you like the neighborhood. Drive by the house at different times of the day, and time routes to the nearest supermarket, schools, or other locations that you frequent. The key is to feel confident that the area is a comfortable and enjoyable place for you and your family.