Buying their first home is a dream come true for most people, but the home buying process can be stressful and frustrating if you don't know what to expect. Luckily, there are several things that you can do to help make searching for and purchasing your first house as enjoyable as possible. If you are planning to buy your first home in the near future, use the following tips:
Establish a Realistic Budget
Before looking for your first home, it is essential to closely review your finances and determine how much you can afford to pay each month for your mortgage. What you may be approved for and how much you can comfortably afford without sacrificing your lifestyle and financial goals are not always the same thing. The last thing you want is to buy a new house and then find out that you're house poor because your mortgage payment consumes a large chunk of your monthly budget.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage ensures that you're prepared to buy a house and have lending in place so you can move quickly with the financing after an offer that you make on a house is accepted. Keep in mind that being pre-qualified for a mortgage is not the same thing as being pre-approved. Being pre-qualified means that you're a person that a lender thinks would be a good candidate for a loan, while being pre-approved means that you have provided all of your financial documents, the loan has been underwritten, and you have an official offer of a mortgage loan.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
When you're buying a house for the first time and don't know exactly what to expect, a great real estate agent will be able to guide you through the process and answer the many questions that you're bound to have. Ideally, look for an agent who specializes in working with home buyers. It is well worth your time to meet with several local real estate agents until you find a person that you feel very comfortable working with.
Identify Must Haves and Wants
Most first time buyers don't have an unlimited budget to work with, so they usually can't find a first home that has absolutely every single feature and amenity that they want. In order to help your real estate agent find the best homes for you in your price range, make a list of things that you must have in a home, and features that you would really like but can live without.
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