Buying your first home can be overwhelming. You probably have 800 questions and thoughts running through your head. These are the first five things I think you should focus on.
A standard downpayment for a first-time homeowner is usually 3-5% of the sales price of the property. So if you bought a house for $200,000 that means you would need to provide the bank $6,000-$10,000 at the time of closing.
The buyer also needs to be prepared to pay up to 3% at settlement for closing cost. This is the estimated amount of money needed for things like loan origination fees, discount points, appraisal fees, title searches, title insurance, etc. In Virginia, buyers can sometimes get a portion of the closing cost paid for by the seller, but in a competitive market, it is best to be prepared to pay the 3% yourself.
Find a realtor you can trust.
I’m a realtor, and yes, I’m endorsing the use of myself and others in my profession, but buying a house really is much easier with a professional. I recently got married and planned my own wedding. I regret this decision… not the married part, the lack of planner part. If I could do it again, which I won’t, the very first thing I would do is hire a planner. I clearly didn’t practice what I preach, and it caught me! Realtors understand the value of homes in the area, the intricacies of the process, and notice things a regular homeowner or buyer may not.
Talk with a Mortgage Lender.
Before you can start looking for your awesome new place, you need to speak with a mortgage lender. A lot of different variables affect a persons home approval status- some you may not even be thinking about. It is important to know where you stand before you get your hopes up on that dream home. Mortgage lenders will also walk you through the process of which loan and program are best for you.
Don’t go above your means.
Who doesn’t love daydreaming about that beautiful house with chef’s kitchen you saw on TV? Wanting the best for ourselves is human nature, but sometimes buyers let it get away from them. A mortgage lender will let you know how much you can legally borrow, but buying a house at your highest approval price leaves no room for error. Make sure you sit down with your finances and find a price range that you can be comfortable with, no one wants to end up eating expired ramen every night.
Figure out what is most important to you in your search for your new home.
No house will have everything you want unless you build it, and even then, it may not be what you want down the road. Make sure you are reasonable with your expectations. I recommend jotting down a list of what is most important to you and then rank them. If you are getting a property with a partner make sure they do the same so you two can compare. Among things to consider: the number of bedrooms/bathrooms, location, square footage, garage, open concept living, type of house or condo, and location of the master bedroom.
Buying a house really is an exciting time. Finding a good realtor and mortgage lender will take a lot of stress out of the process. If you have any questions or want to start your home search feel free to shoot us a message.