If you’re thinking of buying a home your mind may be filled with lists of things to do, companies to call and appointments to make. The truth is being a first time homebuyer is a big deal because it’s probably the largest (and most expensive) investment you’ll ever make. So take your time, save and plan your purchase.
Here are a few tips to help you out along the way to becoming a first time homebuyer:
Don’t rush into anything
I always suggest starting to look at homes about six months before you actually want to move because it gives you time to discover all possibilities before making an offer to purchase. That being said there’s no need to rush when it comes to buying your first home. Take your time to find the perfect house, or at least as close to it as you can.
Hiring a real estate agent can significantly speed up the process. They can help narrow down your search criteria, make recommendations on locations as well as help negotiate the purchase price.
Give yourself a couple of years to decorate
The best advice I’ve ever heard when it comes buying your first home was “I put more money down and lived with less furniture.” That was the advice my co-worker gave me when she bought her home and it’s stuck with me ever since.
I am living in this exact situation right now. BF and I are coming up on the one year anniversary in our new apartment (October 1st) and it’s still not looking exactly as I want it to. I have a need to make everything look picture perfect the day we moved in, but that’s just not realistic. I’m glad we’re taking our time to decorate as oppose to spending a ton of cash and possibly getting into debt over making our home pretty.
Make sure you have emergency savings
I think any homeowner will tell you that there are always unexpected expenses that pop up when you buy a house. Sometimes getting into debt over a leaky roof, burst pipe or furnace malfunction is the only option you have, but if you can avoid it I think your wallet will thank you.
Having a house can be expensive and it may seem like you have no extra cash after you move in. This may be true, but we can’t forget that saving is still important. Saving a little bit of money – even 5% – of your pay check will help build up an emergency savings fund in case an unforeseen event happens.
Factor in ongoing costs to your budget
Your mortgage isn’t the only expense you have when it comes to buying your first home. There are the additional ongoing costs of property tax, utilities and maintenance upkeep. Your grass won’t cut itself and the snow won’t shovel itself. If you don’t have the means to pay someone to do it for you then you’ll have to do it yourself, but you’ll have to buy the necessary equipment.
What’s your best tip for first time homebuyers?
Negotiate hard…everything is pretty negotiable in real estate transactions. This includes the % commission you pay, other transaction fees, etc. Question every penny and drive a hard bargain.