What do first time home buyers need to know?
Home buying tips and fundamentals for
first time home buyers
Don’t let your first time home buying experience be overwhelming. Before you plan your Sunday trip to open houses, it’s important to review the fundamentals and make sure you are going into your home purchase fully aware of the responsibility you are about to take on, as well as prepare you for the process and pitfalls that may come your way.
The first item on the list is to determine how much you can afford. Affordability is determined by your financial state and interest rates. Your financial state includes factors such as your income, debt, savings, and expenses. Interest rates impact on your ability to purchase a home because your monthly payment is based on the rate you lock into; the higher the rate, the higher your payment. To determine how much you can afford, you need to contact a mortgage lender for a pre-approval (I am happy to provide you with several names of licensed loan officers).
Once you know how much you can afford, make a housing budget. Making a housing budget can help you understand your expenses, which included utilities, maintenance, and other expenses such as cable and internet. Additionally, take into account any interest rate adjustment (if you have an adjustable rate mortgage) and increasing real estate taxes. Many first time home buyers get into trouble because they underestimate their monthly housing expenses.
Knowing your rights as a home buyer can help you too. Learn about consumer protection laws such as RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act), Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Truth in Lending Act. You can get more information about these laws from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (consumerfinance.gov).
As a first time home buyer it is important to know that you have the right to choose your service providers (except for certain circumstances), such as real estate agent, lender, title attorney, insurance provider, etc.
Your next step will be to choose a real estate agent. It is recommended to interview several agents before choosing as your agent will be your trusted guide through the home buying process. A good buyer agent is not only a good negotiator, but does their best to protect your interests.
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