Buying your first home is an exciting and overwhelming experience. It should be an enjoyable one, which is why Atlanta Real Estate Forum has five first-time home buyer tips.
- Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Remember, home buying is not a competition. Decide on how much home you really need and how much you can really afford, and don’t just spend everything the bank is willing to loan you. This is about it this way, the monthly mortgage payment includes your principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. This should not exceed 28% of your monthly income before taxes. Look at your income and monthly debt to determine how much house you can afford.
- Shop around. Start your new home research on the Internet. Realtor.com, Zillow, or New Home Source are all good places to start and get a feel of what is available at your price point at your desired location. You’ll be able to explore different areas of towns and different builders and communities without leaving the comfort of your own home. This will also help you better understand the local housing market.
- Be flexible. This is critical! Make a “must list” and a “wish list,” and remember to keep these two things separate. Chances are you probably won’t get everything on your wish list when buying your first home, but you can always consider adding on or upgrading to these things down the line. Knowing what you have to have in a home is a huge plus in today’s face-paced housing market.
- Take your time. This is easier said than done in a market where homes are sold within a week. It’s easy to get excited about the first or second house you see, but it pays to be patient. Figure out where you want to live, what type of house is ideal and your budget, this helps to focus so that you only make offers on homes that fit your parameters. Being prequalified is also a huge differentiator. Look at a variety of new and resale homes before deciding on which one is perfect for you.
- Inspect it. Once you decide on a new home, be sure to hire an outside inspector. They will be able to analyze the structure and point out all the flaws, both big and small so that you are clear about what you are purchasing. This is even more important with resales. A qualified inspector can save you tons of money and heartache. Inspect before you buy!