So you’re thinking of purchasing your first home? You’ve been looking on Zillow for a while now, seeing what’s available in the neighborhoods that you’re interested in, and are thinking of contacting a realtor.
For many, the home buying process is often both an exciting time, and one that can provide some discomfort, as you try to navigate the world of mortgages, closing costs, and attending various open houses. In an effort to help ease some of those feelings and make the process of buying your first home both exciting and smooth (well, as smooth as it can be), let me tell you about how we went about purchasing our first home.
It was early spring of 2014. Lauren and I are newly engaged (!!!). We are in the midst of planning our wedding,but we also know that after the big day, we need a place to live, a place to call home. After a short discussion regarding renting versus buying, we knew that we wanted to buy. Fortunately, we had both been able to save up some money on our own, so we felt like we were in a pretty good position,financially, to be able to purchase a home.
It wasn’t long until we were trying to determine where we wanted to live- some of our priorities centered around criteria such as proximity to work, family and friends, and overall desirability of the neighborhood. We started spending our dates driving around various neighborhoods in the Akron/Cuyahoga Falls areas, getting an idea of the styles and types of homes we both liked, as well as trying to get a feel for the diverse neighborhoods that make up this area.
As we did not have much experience in purchasing a home, we decided to enlist the services of a local realtor. We were fortunate enough to be referred to a realtor who “understood” Lauren and I, as he is of our same generation. This was incredibly beneficial to us, as we never felt pressured to look at homes outside of our budget, or our desired location. He also provided timely feedback and communication and was readily available via either e-mail or text message.
When we found the home we were ready to make an offer on, he was with us the whole way, helping us navigate making multiple offers against another bidder, introducing us to our mortgage loan officer, and being there with us when we signed the paperwork to close, so that we ultimately got the house!
Now that we know the story has a happy ending, to wrap this up, here are a few key takeaways that I think are important when you find yourself starting down the journey of purchasing a home:
START SAVING NOW
Not just for the down payment, but for the other expenses surrounding becoming a home owner-closing costs, home owners insurance, home inspections, new furniture/rugs or any other updates you want to make in the home. And don’t forget to budget for maintenance, as things can, and do break(like a washing machine 6 months after moving in- I know from experience!).
FIND A REALTOR THAT MAKES YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE
Ideally, one that is easy to communicate with, who works with your schedule when helping you setup times to tour houses you are interested in, and who doesn’t try to push you to spend beyond your budget.
HAVE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
Remember, a lot of the time, people are approved to borrow more than their actual budget. Have an idea of what your overall monthly spending looks like before you buy a house, and then make sure that all of the associated costs of your new home fit inside that budget.
Getting up to three different quotes from lenders, and comparing not just the rates but also the fees associated with originating the loan, can go a long way to helping you get the best deal.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO NEGOTIATE
Not just on the selling price, but on things like asking the current homeowner to cover, in full or in part, any major repairs that need done to the house, or asking the seller to cover a portion of the closing costs.
Ultimately, purchasing a house for many Americans is their single largest expenditure in their life. As you begin to think through the process and find yourself having questions, please feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call. I would love to help you navigate the process, and be a resource as you and your family as we all move life forward together.
Check out our other articles and helpful resources here ----> https://www.simplifynance.com/learn
And if you want to chat through those home-buying questions, email me here----> firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Ollish, CFP®