First-time homebuyers have been struggling to purchase their homes in 2021. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone.
As a first-time homebuyer, you have a few advantages over other buyers. That said, you’re still unfamiliar with the process, it can still be challenging. Homeownership isn’t as easy as it was in the past!
We want to help you out with a first-time home buying checklist. Read on to learn more.
Determine Your Budget
Before you even start looking at homes, you need to determine your budget. Many first-time homebuyers are on limited budgets, and lenders understand that.
You’re going to have options when it comes to buying a house. You could buy an affordable fixer-upper, a manufactured home, or a traditional home that’s in good condition.
Your budget is going to go into this choice.
Many new home buyers assume that a fixer-upper is the way to go. While that might seem like a good idea on the surface due to the cost, remember that you’re going to have to put time and money into the property to get it back into tip-top shape. If you’re looking for fixer-uppers, make sure that repairs also fit into your budget.
Traditional homes are the most popular choice. They’re also the most expensive. Manufactured homes are less expensive but often lower quality (though this isn’t always true).
Your budget also needs to include the cost of moving, furniture, and any fees associated with buying the home.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Unless you have enough cash to buy a home outright, you’re going to need to get a mortgage. First-time homebuyers can often get more affordable mortgages than repeat buyers.
Your lender will consider your current income and credit score when they’re determining whether or not to approve you. When they approve you, you’ll learn the amount of money that you’ll be able to spend on a house. This allows you to smoothly transition into the househunting stage.
Learn more about mortgages through Farmer’s Bank of Idaho here.
Find a Realtor
Most people choose to use a realtor when they’re buying a home for the first time. Real estate agents know all about the home buying process and they’re familiar with the local area. This makes them well-equipped to help you find the house of your dreams (that’s also within your budget).
It’s a good idea to ask friends and family members about their experiences with local realtors. There are going to be many realtors competing for your business, but getting a recommendation from someone you know will help you pick a good one.
Look for Your Dream Home(s)
Now for the fun part.
Looking for a home is exciting. Go onto local real estate websites, such as Zillow, to start the hunt. You can search for homes in specific neighborhoods based on your price point.
Remember that the housing market is competitive right now, so it may take a while for your ideal homes to show up.
Tips for Choosing a Home
While you’re browsing homes, make sure that you know what you’re looking for. Remember, this is a huge and long-term decision.
We recommend starting with an inspiration board. Browse the web for home inspiration so you can start figuring out what it is that you want. You’re going to want to make a list of wants and needs.
How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you need to be close to a certain workplace or school? Do you want to have specific things, such as bathtubs or dishwashers?
Make sure that you research neighborhoods before you commit. Even within the same city, neighborhoods can vary wildly.
Tour Your Potential Homes
Once you have a few homes on your list, you should visit them as soon as possible. Plenty of other wannabe buyers are going to view these homes too!
If you’re able, do an in-person tour. While virtual tours are often available, an in-person tour will show you things that may be make-or-break for you. For example, you may see damage in the home that wasn’t obvious online.
Submit a Strong (But Reasonable) Offer
So you’ve decided on your dream house. Great! The journey doesn’t stop here.
You’re going to want to submit an offer right away. Again, the market is competitive, and you need to beat all of the other potential buyers. Some realtors recommend writing a personal letter to the seller as well, but this isn’t necessary.
It’s common to offer over the asking price right now, so be prepared by shopping slightly underneath your budget. Your real estate agent will help you determine and set contingencies and a timeline.
Get an Inspection and Renegotiate (If Necessary)
You should never forgo an inspection if you can help it. Many buyers in the current market choose not to have an inspection, but remember, the cost of repairs and renovations can put you over budget.
A good inspector will determine if there are any problems in the home that should reduce its cost. Plumbing issues, mold, electrical problems, and other issues can often be invisible to the average person.
If the inspection reveals problems with the home, you have the option of renegotiating before you close. You may be able to get a lower price or convince the sellers to make repairs.
Close the Sale
Finally, it’s time to close. You’re on the way to your dream home.
This is a legal process, so you’re going to have to sign a variety of documents. Your real estate agent will walk you through the process so you don’t miss anything.
After this, you’re ready to set a moving date and move into your new home!
First-Time Homebuyer? No Problem
Make sure that you use this first-time homebuyer checklist when you’re on the hunt for your new dream home. When in doubt, your realtor will assist you with everything that you need.
Start making your budget and getting the ball rolling!
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