Monday, February 9, 2009

Tips for first time homebuyers

No matter what stage of life you are in, buying a home is never a decision to make lightly. For a first time homeowner, however, this milestone is filled with even more excitement, confusion and worry.

If you are thinking about buying your first home, consider these tips from the National Association of Realtors:

1. Be picky, but don’t be unrealistic. There is no perfect home.

2. Do your homework before you start looking. Decide specifically what features you want in a home and which are most important to you.

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your downpayment and your closing costs

4. Don’t wait to get a loan. Talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage before you start looking.

5. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion.

6. Decide when you could move. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area?

7. Think long-term. Are you looking for a starter house with the idea of moving up in a few years or do you hope to stay in this home longer? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as type of mortgage terms that suit you best.

8. Don’t let yourself be house poor. If you max yourself out to buy the biggest home you can afford, you’ll have no money left for maintenance or decoration or to save money for other financial goals.

9. Don’t be na├»ve. Insist on a home inspection and if possible get a warranty from the seller to cover defects within one year.

10. Get help. Consider hiring a REALTOR® as a buyer’s representative. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. And often, buyer’s reps are paid out of the seller’s commission payment.

The process of buying your first home can be wonderful and worrisome at the same time. For most people, their homes are the largest purchases they will make in their lives. You might wake up at three a.m. worried about taking on the mortgage. You may start mentally arranging your furniture and forget to look at windows and roofs. You may be tempted to look "just $10,000 higher" than you can truly afford. Approaching the processes sensibly is important.

If you are buying in the Monroe area, give me or Luis a call. We'll be happy to help you find local bankers and home inspectors, and we can show you what is available in your price range.

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