The average age for first-time home buyers in the U.S. is around 33, a relatively young age for such a big life choice. That said, buying your first home at any age can be a stressful and time-consuming experience.
Luckily, there are a few crucial pointers that will help make the journey to homeownership a less bumpy ride. Here are five tips to get you on your way.
1. Draw up a hard budget and stick to it.
Let’s say you’re interested in a home, but you’re not sure it’s in your price range. That’s a problem. Before you start browsing, it’s crucial that you iron out important questions such as, what is the most you can afford? What is your ideal price range? To help you get started, use an online mortgage calculator to determine the maximum monthly payment you can afford based on the price of the home after you put down a down payment and over a 30-year-mortgage. If you fall in love with a house but the monthly payment is more than you can afford, when including all your other fixed expenses, it’s time to move on.
You can also enlist the help of your bank’s loan officer to help you arrive at a figure. He or she will be able to tell you how much the bank will lend you and at what interest rate. While this figure doesn’t necessarily equal what you can afford to pay for a home, it will give you an idea of the most you are able to pay.
2. Make a short list of your non-negotiables.
Before you start seriously shopping, consider your lifestyle and values. What features would enhance your well-being? And what would make you miserable? From there, make a list of non-negotiables, from location, to square footage, to amenities — that you must have in your future home. This will also help guide your realtor.
And reevaluate your list as you gain a better sense of what’s out there and what you want.
3. Use an experienced realtor who knows the area and the market.
Your realtor can make or break your home buying experience. If you know where you want to live, try and get a realtor referral. Fifty four percent of buyers found their agent from a personal referral or had used an agent they’d worked with before, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors. So start by asking friends, family or friends of friends who live in your area of interest for recommendations.
4. Check out comparable houses in the area to get an idea of pricing.
First time home buyers should look at comparable homes in the area they want to live. There are many websites that can give you an idea of what homes are on the market in various areas and your real estate agent will be invaluable assisting you in working with you.
5. Ask your realtor about expected closing costs
Closing costs, which don’t include your personal packing and moving costs, can vary widely. Typically, they include the cost of hiring a real-estate attorney to look over your buyer-seller agreement and a home appraiser to evaluate the home before the sale, which is typically paid by the buyer.
As for the realtor’s commission, that’s paid by the seller, not the buyer. (Whew.) (Credit: Entrepreneur.com)
No one knows the Charleston SC area better than The Brennaman Group. We’re always available to work with you as you search for your beautiful new home in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! Contact us at 843.345.6074 – firstname.lastname@example.org