Tips For The First Time Home Buyer
Your first-time home buying experience can be confusing and frustrating. There are many things to know and do before you are ready to look for the perfect home and even more before that key to your first home is in your hand. With some preparation and homework, you will be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that can occur with first-time home buying.
1. One of the first steps in purchasing your new home is to look over your finances and realistically determine the amount you can spend. A mortgage pre-approval is a great option for first-time home buyers. This is the process of determining how much money you can borrow. Lenders will look at your income, assets, and credit score to determine what loans you could be approved for, how much you can borrow, and what your interest rate might be. As a general rule, you should aim to keep your housing costs to 30% or less of your take-home pay. If you’re buying a home, that 30% should include not just your mortgage payment, but also your predictable associated costs, like property taxes, homeowners insurance, and HOA fees if those apply to you.
2. An experienced real estate agent may make the difference between buying your dream home or settling for second best. Top agents have the market expertise, personal touch and communication skills to alert you to houses as soon as they become available, and the negotiation skills to get your offer accepted. At St. Augustine Realty we have a team of experienced agents who are ready to help in this important step to owning your first home.
3. Research the neighborhood you are looking to buy your home in. Ask your real estate agent for information on crime rates and the quality of schools around your prospective neighborhoods. Calculate your new commute times to see if they seem manageable. Visit the neighborhood at different times and days to check for traffic conditions and noise levels and to see if people are comfortable being outdoors. Only choose a neighborhood that you and your family feel good about. Once you’ve narrowed down the neighborhoods, attend a few open houses. Looking at homes that are for sale—even if they’re not a perfect fit for you—is a great way to learn more about the area.
These are just a few ways to prepare you for your first-time home buying experience and the team of agents at St. Augustine Realty are ready to help you to make this process less stressful and the result will be your first home!