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7 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Posted by Jeff Sallan on Monday, February 29th, 2016 at 6:42am.

Buying a home is an exciting process. Buying a home for the first time can also be a little nerve wracking. There are some tips that can make the process easier. 

1. Use a real estate agent you trust. Real estate agents can often make the home buying process go smoothly. Look for agents who have significant experience negotiating. Ask for testimonials from their past clients, check their reviews online, ask specific questions about the neighborhoods or type of home you're interested in. 

2. Consider your long-term lifestyle plans. Don't necessarily buy a home that fits your current lifestyle. If you have plans to expand your family, are going to retire or get married soon, or have another life change on the horizon, buy a home that fits those needs. You may not be able to pay down any equity on your home for 5+ years, so if you aren't confident that your dream house will fit your needs for the next few years, you may want to keep looking. 

3. Buy a home you can afford. Many first time home buyers get qualified for a specific amount and only look at homes at the top of their budget. Also consider the costs of property taxes, homeowner's insurance, home repairs, and HOA fees. If you're concerned about finances, work with a financial planner before purchasing a home and contact a lender as soon as possible to see how you can improve your financial situation. 

4. Consider your debt (all of it). Many first time home buyers have student loan debt. Following the housing crisis, lending laws became stricter and student loan debt is considered real debt. If your student loan is in deferment, it may be beneficial to start a repayment plan prior to applying for a mortgage so lenders can accurately determine your level of debt. 

5. Read the contract. Contracts can be negotiated. If you want another home inspection or a more in-depth inspection, you can do that. Working with an experienced agent can help you save time and headaches by creating the appropriate documents and managing the contract process. 

6. Don't get (too) emotional. Buying a home is a big deal and it's so easy to get overwhelmed. Before you start looking at homes, determine what are must-haves and what are deal breakers. If you need a 4 bedroom home, but find a 3 bedroom you love, will you still love it six months later when the novelty has work off and you're one bedroom short? Take pictures of each home you tour and have a checklist handy. Make notes about each property while there or immediately after. If you see multiple homes in one day, the details may all run togehter. 

7. Check the HOA before making a decision. If you're not familiar with the Home Owners Association, ask for the HOA contract. Your agent can get this for you. If you're not working with an agent yet, contact the HOA directly. Each HOA has specific rules and you need to be sure you can live with those rules before making an offer on a home. 

If you are planning on purchasing a home, we'd be honored to assist you in the process. Give us a all at 775-453-0209. 

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