Maybe you have decided to stop throwing your money away on rent and buy a house. Where does one start?? Buying that first home can fill a person full of fear and trepidation! And for good reason…the entire situation is full of uncertainty and everyone around you seems to be speaking a foreign language!
I have a friend who recently to me that he thought that if there was a sign in front of a house that he liked, he had to call the person who’s name was on the sign and buy it from them. He also thought that by having a real estate agent help him buy a home, he’d have to pay them a salary. Anyone thoroughly confused by escrow and closing costs? Or how about disclosures and contingencies? If you have never gone through the process you may just not know.
When venturing into the real estate abyss, it is imperative to have someone who is patient, knowledgeable and ready to serve. You will have questions…lots of them, and you want someone who can walk you through them. Below are some of the more important steps when thinking of taking the big step.
Know your money: Make sure you understand the new costs that you will incur such as taxes, homeowners insurance, utility bills and repairs. This will help determine the maximum price you can spend on a house. If you need help managing your finances, talk to a financial planner. Have them help you understand the tax benefits of home ownership.
Hire a Realtor: Although the internet is a wealth of information, don’t be fooled into going it alone. Find an agent who listens to what you are saying and will advocate on your behalf. He or she can line up properties to view, answer your multitude of questions and help you get connected with homeowner resources. Also, agents usually know what is coming on the market before it hits, giving you an advantage in an aggressive market.
Be ready to take a risk: Realize that there is uncertainty in everything, but no matter what happens, you will deal with it. Seek wise counsel and ask trusted, competent individuals about first time home buying experiences. Be sure to keep some cash in the bank as a prudent reserve. And remember, you have homeowner’s insurance for a reason.
What is it that you “must have”??: Have to be in a certain neighborhood? Are you adamant about wanting a garage, a fireplace or an amazing deck? Make your list of what’s important to you and look for it. You may find that you are willing to sacrifice one feature, if the rest is spot on. If you are not crazy about the house, don’t offer. You will know when the house is right, when the time is right and when the price is right!
Be ready to make an offer: Regardless of the market, great houses don’t stay on the market long. Sometimes one open house leads to three offers. If you love it, be ready to make your best offer…and if you really love it, make sure not to offer low in hopes of negotiating to somewhere in the middle. You may not get that chance! Buying a house can be a highly emotional process, keep your head on straight!
Enjoy the reward of “Pride of Ownership”: Owning a home can be one of the most exciting and satisfying things you’ll ever do in your life. It brings a great personal freedom and stability. You will no longer have to ask the landlord for permission to have a dog, paint a wall or plant a garden. It’s your corner of the world, so go for it!!