Buying a home is an exciting time. It can also be stressful and confusing, especially if you are buying your first home. Listed below are Ten Tips to help you with the process.
1. Get your own Representation:
Don’t use the listing agent, you simply won’t get the right type of representation and it won’t save you money. Realtors are paid a commission based on a percentage of the home’s sale price and this commission is usually predetermined and paid by the seller at closing. This means the work of your agent comes at no cost to you. They will be there to guide you, answer questions, let you know when things first come on the market and navigate the often confusing world of real estate.
2. Be Patient:
The process, paper work and terminology can be overwhelming. Having patience with the process, your lender and the market will make the whole process easier on you. Keep in mind that everything will take longer than you want. Don't rush or force the process.Take your time to find the right home that fits your needs.
Make a list of your top five priorities in a home before you start looking at houses.Then as you go keep a score for each home to help keep your objectives clear.Another nice list to have when home shopping is to write down your must-haves, nice-to-haves and things you can do with out.
Get your letters of financial approval from your lender before you start looking at homes.Your lender will review your financial status and issue a letter with the amount you are qualified to borrow. This will streamline your house hunting because when you know what you can afford you are able to filter your home search to properties that are within your budget.It also helps sellers take you seriously.An offer is less likely to be accepted from a buyer without pre-approval.Plus, if you are in a multiple offer situation, your offer will likely be passed over.
5. Use a Local Lender:
When trying to find a lender, especially if it’s your first home, go local!It’s nice to have an actual person to talk to about the process rather than someone whom you only talk to over the phone or via email.
6. Be Ready!
In L.A., we are in a very fast moving market! You need to have a realtor in place and a pre-approval letter ready to be able to make an offer as soon as a new listing that you are interested in comes on the market.
7. Look at ALL the Expenses you may Incur:
You will probably (hopefully!) already know what you can afford before you begin the home shopping process.However, as you look at homes make sure you take into account other possible expenses that may come with it.If it’s an older house and you plan on making upgrades, calculate those costs to see if it’s still affordable.Find out if there is a Homeowners Association and if so what are the dues.The last thing you want to happen is to buy your dream home only to find out that there are huge monthly dues that will stress your budget.
8. Think Long-term and Resale Value:
What you are looking for in a home now, may be different in a few years so it’s good to think ahead during the home buying process.Are you planning on starting or adding to your family? Do you think you’ll have a lot of out of town guests staying with you?Is this just an investment that will eventually be a rental property for you?Is the home in a neighborhood that is seeing growth?These are things to take into consideration!
9. Look Beyond Staging:
It’s easy to fall in love with a home when it has been staged by a professional.If the living room looks like a page out of a Pottery Barn catalog you are probably already imagining the parties you’ll have in it.Remember when the home is yours, the staging is gone. Be sure that you love the layout and structure of the home…not just the furniture that’s in it!
10. Have Fun!
This is an exciting time…getting ready to buy your very first home!!Even though the process can be stressful have fun with it. Enjoy looking at all the different houses and finding the perfect one to be your first home.