We have looked at two unknown factors that are of concern to first-time home buyers. 1) Credit score, and 2) Being able to afford the payments.
A third unknown factor is –
Where or how do I start the process?
First, there is no right or wrong way to start the process, but you will be ahead of the game if you start the process of getting pre-qualified.
The pre-qualification letter from a mortgage company, bank, or credit union is normally good for up to 90 days. This means that your letter will be good to take to a real estate agent without having to get your credit pulled again for 3 months.
As we have mentioned before, it is imperative that if you are actively searching that you do not incur any new debt during this period of time. Adding new debt can result in lowering your credit score and could mean you have to wait longer to make the purchase of your dream home.
Second, select a real estate agent that knows the area where you want to purchase your home. A professional Realtor will have insights about your chosen community that may help you make the right decision. They can access additional reports for schools, tax info, and the history of the home.
When you are making your choice of Realtor, go with somebody that YOU are comfortable with. This means that you do NOT sign any papers that tie you to one agent until you know they will be working for you.
There are two main type of residential agents – 1) A Seller’s agent, and 2) A Buyer’s agent. Selecting a Buyer’s agent will help ensure that your needs, wants, and concerns are being addressed by somebody that should ALWAYS be looking out for you and your family’s best interests.
In addition to finding a Buyer’s agent, it is recommended that you find one that will LISTEN to you. For example, if you tell an agent what your price range is and they are always trying to show you houses that are way above that, then you should probably keep looking for an agent.
A Buyer’s agent should have no problems working within your parameters. They should treat you as a valuable client whether you are looking for a starter home that is $100,000 or an upscale home for $650,000.
Doing your homework ahead of time will help you make sure your agent is working on your behalf. Making the wrong choice can leave you frustrated. Make sure they are keeping in full communication with you as to if they are out of town for a certain period of time and cannot show houses.
Third, this cannot be stated firmly enough. Buy the home that YOU want. You will be the one paying the bills. You will have the home for a number of years. Your Realtor may like certain aspects of the homes you are looking at, but at the end of the day, YOU are buying it. Buy what you like in your price range.