You have just decided that you want to buy a home – YAY! This is one of the most exciting times in most people’s lives.
You’ve probably seen a series like this floating around the web on the steps to buying a home but I’m going to give you my perspective from being both a Real Estate Agent and as a Customer.
First things first, are you really ready to buy a home? I mean like ready in the next 30-90 days? This is how long it typically takes for a real estate transaction to go to completion. If not, it’s ok. If yes, then this is your guide to buying a home.
There are so many things to know when buying a home. So we are going to break it down for your step by step. Here a few home buying statistics.
First-Time vs. Repeat Buyers:
- First-time buyers: 35%
- Median age of first-time buyers: 32
- Median age of repeat buyers: 52
- Median household income of first-time buyers: $72,000
- Median household income of repeat buyers: $98,000
- Among those who financed their home purchase, buyers typically financed 90% of the home price.
FIRST TIME HOME BUYER TIPS – STEP ONE: GET PREPARED
+Get Mentally Prepared
You must get mentally prepared. Buying a home can be tough. It’s a winding road with lots and lots of roadblocks. Some transactions go smoothly but more often than not, you are going to have some stumbling blocks. You are going to have to be resilient and face those battles one at a time. Later on in this series, we are going to talk about getting a good Realtor. When you have someone in your corner, fighting those battles won’t be so bad.
+Start Your Preliminary Search
You have so much power within your reach because of the good ‘ole Internet. You have the ability to start your search right now. With popular sites like Realtor.com and Zillow you can figure out what type of home you like, what areas you want to be in, find out information about school districts, and so much more?
Typically the market will fluctuate between being a buyer’s market and a seller’s market and this all has to do with supply and demand. Didn’t think those high school economic classes would ever come in hand…well, they just did!
A buyer’s market means that there is a lot of supply (lots of homes on the market) and not enough people out here to buy them. That’s great for you because you not only have your pick of inventory but you are in a better position in terms of negotiations.
A seller’s market is just the opposite. There is not enough supply (too few homes on the market) and too many buyers looking. This isn’t the best position to be in especially if you have a more limited budget. But fret not! While you may not be in the best negotiating position, with creative tactics you can still get the property of your dreams
+Have Realistic Expectations
This is also a good time to start setting realistic expectations. For many, buying real estate is one of the largest financial transactions they will make in their lives. This large, often overwhelming financial decision has to make sense for you in the grand scheme of things.
Are you able to realistically afford a house with a pool or a house in your desired area right now? Do you have debt that you need to pay down before you start your search? Are you stable financially? Love to travel – how will buying this home affect that? All these things and much more should be a consideration when deciding to buy a home.
Speaking of finances – let’s get down and dirty and discuss a subject that most people dread. Most people don’t like to think about finances but you can’t buy a home if you can’t get a loan or if you don’t have a large amount of readily available cash. If you have debts, start paying them down. If you have college loans, they may not factor into your debt ratio if they are deferred but guess what, they are not going to be deferred forever, think about those payments. A loan officer or mortgage broker is always happy to talk to you about your choices. If you have questions or concerns reach out to one.
Your credit score will be one of the most important determining factors as to if you can afford a home or if you will have to wait. Find out what your credit score is NOW and then start strengthening your credit if it is not up to par. Most banks are requiring a credit score of around 640 and above (although it is possible to obtain a loan with a lower credit score). If you do have good credit, keep it that way. Don’t go buying new things and opening up new credit (we’ll discuss this more in detail later).
So there, you have it – the first step in buying a home.
Up next – Find you a good Realtor.