Buying a home can be a rewarding and exciting experience, but without the proper guidance and knowledge, first-time homebuyers are bound to run into some confusing issues. If you are thinking of buying a home, or in the process of buying one, this useful guide can help you navigate your journey.
Figuring Out Your Finances
If you’re still in the early stages of the homebuying process, you’ll want to start saving money for a down payment. And since a credit check is such an essential part of being approved for a mortgage, you’ll want to make sure to improve your credit score ahead of time by working to clear your debts.
Plan ahead and calculate whether you’ll realistically be able to afford paying the mortgage long-term and remember to factor in other expenses such as renovations, appliances and taxes.
Potential homebuyers should never plan their purchase based on a promotion or new job that hasn’t materialized yet.
Working With a Mortgage Lender
When deciding on a lender for your mortgage, compare rates from three or more lenders. This will allow you to study your options and save money in the long run by choosing the best deal.
A pre-approval letter from a lender can give you the upper hand when negotiating with a seller. Essentially, the lender verifies ahead of time that your finances and credit are in good shape, and you can definitely use this to your advantage with the seller.
Get in touch with a AAA mortgage specialist to learn more.
Choosing a Buyer’s Agent
Choosing a compatible buyer’s agent is an essential part of the homebuying process. Make sure they are knowledgeable about the area you are looking to buy in and have a good track record.
Choosing a licensed agent is also a good choice, because they will have much higher standards for performance. A compatible agent will make the process of choosing loans, negotiating and more, much easier.
Finding the Best Location
The area the home is in should be just as important to a homebuyer’s decision as the property itself. Do extensive research on the community and the nearby stores and establishments that you plan on frequenting. It is also important to research the local school system, even if you don’t have kids, as this can have a major impact on taxes and the home’s value. And of course, research crime statistics to make sure it’s a safe neighborhood.
Picking the Perfect Home
You will have to decide if you want a family home, townhouse or condo. All have their perks; a family home will be more spacious, and you will have your very own plot of land, but a condo offers less home maintenance to deal with.
If you are keen on a certain home, schedule a home visit to find out as much information about the property as you can. Explore every nook and cranny and don’t be afraid to ask your agent critical questions.
Homeowners Insurance for First-Time Homebuyers
Homeowners insurance – and finding the best policy for you – should be an important step in any homebuyer’s plan. If the home or your possessions are destroyed or damaged by a fire, natural disaster or other uncontrollable circumstance, insurance can protect you.
Protect your greatest investment with AAA homeowners insurance.
Are You Ready?
If your finances are not in order, it is not a good idea to start looking at houses; you don’t want to fall in love with a place you can’t afford. Also, if you are not sure about settling down in one place just yet, it may not be wise to jump into the investment. You might find your dream home listed, but if you are thinking about moving out of state in the next few years, the timing just isn’t right.
If there is any reason that you are not 100% confident in your decision, wait a bit longer. There is no rush. That being said, if you’re ready to settle down, have solid finances and are seriously smitten with a home or location, get your pen ready to sign some contracts!
For ways to save at home, go to AAA.com/HomeServices.
Have any other essential tips for first-time homebuyers? See how AAA might be able to help you buy your first home.