home ownership

5 Steps to Buy Your First Home

first homeBuying your first home is a big deal. It’s an exciting milestone in your life and it’s also a big financial commitment. Although investing in real estate and making a big purchase can seem overwhelming it can also be very easy. All you need to do is take it step by step and as you complete a task cross it off your list.

Here are the 5 steps you should take to buy your first home:

Get a Realtor

We are in the process of buying our first home and our Realtor has been a huge help in easing the process. A Realtor can do the leg work and search listings within your ideal neighborhood, in your price range and with the amenities you want. Having that work done can be a big time and trouble saver when it comes to starting to shop for your new home.

Find a licensed Realtor and check them out online. Once the Realtor finds a few listings that you like it’s time to go visit your potential new home. Always take the Realtor with you because they know what to look for and the questions to ask as well as the things to point out.

Down payment

A down payment is a major factor when buying a home, it’s also a sign that you’re ready to buy says Forbes. “Another key financial factor is a down payment. (Forbes) urges real estate newcomers to cough up 20%, which immediately adds equity to your house and lowers monthly payments. You know you can afford to buy a home when you have saved enough money to put a down payment. That down payment also means you can qualify for a loan modification program down the road if, heaven forbid, you need it.”

Make time for visits

Buying your first home doesn’t happen overnight. You will probably visit a dozen or so houses before you decide on the one you want to buy. It’s important to make time at nights and on weekends for visits, it’s also important to make time in your day to plan the move.

Negotiating the purchase of your first home with the seller takes time, so does coordinating visits to the bank and notary as well as getting the movers all set up and packing your personal belongings. My best advice to any first time homebuyer is to be patient and make sure you make time for all the tasks. Otherwise you’ll be overwhelmed, rushed and possibly run out of time. Starting as early as possible is key to making the purchase of your first home as easy as possible.

Do a home inspection

When you make an offer to purchase a home it can be conditional on several different things such as loan approval from the bank or home inspection. Never buy a home as is because you just can’t tell if there are issues and repairs needed for things like the roof and foundation. You also never know what’s in the walls from electric to plumbing.

Hiring an inspector can help spot problem areas and also give you negotiating power if there are repairs that need to be done.

Hire movers

Moving is a total nightmare, if you’ve ever relocated you know it’s true. The best way to find trustworthy movers is to call around for quotes, book appointments for the company to come and see your home (so they can judge the amount of work involved) and always hire more men than expected. Hiring three men may be a cheaper hourly rate than hiring four, but if they take longer to do the job or get tired and careless it could end up costing you much more. Always ask about movers’ insurance to help recuperate your costs and losses if your personal items are damaged during the move.

For more on buying a house, and when is the right time to move, check out these great articles.

Everything you need to buy a house
When should you move out of your parent’s house?
The Importance of Having a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home

About the author

TK

TK is a Certified Financial Planner with over 15 years of experience in the banking industry. She started blogging in 2009 after the market crash. TK enjoys helping people plan their retirement, pay off debt, invest wisely, live on a budget and enjoy happy financial lives. You can see what she's up to on Twitter @TahnyaKristina.

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