Buying your first home is a major milestone for anyone. It’s an event that’s equal parts exciting, terrifying, confusing, uplifting, and nerve-wracking. Fortunately, ensuring that your first property buying experience is a good one requires nothing more than a little thought, diligence, and caution. Below, we’ve brainstormed a few essential but easy-to-follow steps that everyone should take when making the leap into home ownership.
Research the Location
Before buying a home anywhere, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time. That means doing your homework. If you’re in the market for Little Rock houses for sale, know the cost of living in Arkansas first. Thinking about settling down in Portland? Investigate Oregon’s job market, crime rate, and education system before you commit.
Consider Your Finances
Knowing how much house you can afford is key to not biting off more than you can chew. To figure out where you stand, consider your financial situation. How much do you have in your savings? How steady and reliable is your income stream? What is your credit score? Do you have any outstanding debts? All of these things will affect your ability to get a good mortgage.
Comparison Shop Lenders
Speaking of mortgages, it’s not uncommon for first time homeowners to jump the gun and take the first loan that’s offered to them. This is a mistake that could end up costing you thousands of dollars over the years, if not more. Don’t be afraid to comparison shop. Meet with multiple lenders to discuss their terms. Even better, let the lenders know you’re meeting with other lenders. If they know they have competition, they’re more likely to give you a deal.
Inspect the Property
Think you’ve found the property of your dreams? Watch out, because it could secretly be a living nightmare. In addition to touring your potential new house, getting a full inspection is a good idea. Sometimes the seller will arrange this themselves before they even put their home on the market. If they haven’t, request one. Otherwise, you might find yourself saddled with expensive and even dangerous structural issues.
Get Professional Help
Unless you have substantial experience in real estate negotiation or law, trying to handle the finer details of a property sale all by yourself is not recommended. Don’t skimp out on getting a realtor or lawyer. Though it might seem like an easy way to save money, it’s actually a recipe for disaster. Besides likely resulting in you getting taken advantage of, it could also cause you serious legal problems down the road.