You’ve Decided to Buy a Home, Now What?
So, you’ve made the decision to buy your first home. Congratulations! Although it can be overwhelming at times, buying a new home is always exciting and your first home purchase is a milestone you will never forget. Before immediately diving in, it’s best to understand the home-buying process from top to bottom.
First, it’s important to have a decent amount of money saved up in the bank. The National Association of Realtors® estimates that existing-home sales in the U.S. will expand 3.7 percent in 2018. However, due to a limited supply of homes on the market, the average existing-home price is estimated to increase to about 5.5 percent this year.1 It’s best to have enough money set aside for a competitive down payment to give you an edge over competing buyers. Additionally, you’ll need money for moving expenses, closing costs, and potential repairs.
Next, you need to meet with a lender to seek preapproval for a mortgage. They will take a close look at your income, employment history, and credit reports to then determine which loan program you qualify for. Starting the process with a mortgage pre-approval shows sellers that you are serious about buying, which may incentivize them to choose you over other prospective buyers.
When choosing your real estate agent, be sure to check out their prior experience, including a list of homes sold in the past year. An agent may potentially be able to find you homes before they are even listed on the market, which of course gives you the upper-hand over competing buyers. A good realtor will negotiate on your behalf and truly advocate in your best interest to ensure you are getting the best deal possible.
Make a list of must-haves to use as a basis before beginning your search for the perfect home. Pay attention to the rising and/or falling values of homes in the area you are interested in to ensure you are making a good investment. Additionally, consider the area’s school system and crime rates when making your decision. Don’t focus on surface details such as paint colors or landscape, as these can later be easily fixed with little cost.
Finally, it’s time to submit your offer. It’s important to know when to give in and accept the price and when to continue negotiating. Luckily, as previously mentioned, your real estate agent will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you are getting the best deal.