You’ve saved some money, found a realtor and found your lender, now the exciting part of finding your first home!
If you are a first time home buyer take time to decide the amount of monthly expense you can afford with your payment, the essentials for your new home and what is important to you with home ownership. If you drill down some critical decisions before you start to look you’ll save yourself from losing your mind!
Determine your budget –
Let’s pretend the bank tells you that you qualify for a mortgage between $150,000-200,000. Run all the numbers privately assuming mortgage payments at both amounts to determine where you are comfortable. If you go for the lower amount, then the homes in that price range may not meet all of your wants, but if the furnace goes out you’ll have more cash available to fix it. If you go with the higher amount, then you may get more of your wants, but you could be house poor. I find it easier to help my clients when I know they are comfortable with their decision and they stick to it.
Make a list –
You will save yourself so much time if you sit down to brainstorm exactly what you want out of home ownership. Is it the chance to build equity, save on rent, live the American dream, take on a new responsibility or an investment? Do you want five bedrooms, but will settle for three? Are you willing to share a bathroom with your kids? Do you want a detached garage or is that a deal breaker? Think it through and if you are making these decisions with another person, then make sure he or she is involved with the brainstorming too.
Meet with your agent to narrow down your choices –
Once you know your budget and what you want and need, then you can meet with your agent to get a game plan! I recommend going to the office to look at the options on a big screen while you discuss and compare the things you like. With technology today you don’t have to wait until you drive up to the house to decide if you can’t stand the way the house looks, instead you can weed out the majority from the comfort of an office. Narrow your list down to no more than 10 and head out to find your first home!