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Advice for First-Time Buyers

  • Pre-Approval: Meet with a lender to discover how much you can afford to pay for a home or how much a home will be at the payment amount you are comfortable with.  An online mortgage calculator may not include mortgage insurance that you may be required.  Knowing how much you can, or would like, to spend on a home is the first step.  Sellers will be more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved, or may even require a pre-approval to view the home.  You’ll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range.  With a pre-qualification, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender.  This way, assuming the home you’re interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property and can perform.
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists.  The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.).  The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary.  Realistically for most buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is honest, experienced and professional.
  • Focus & Organization:  Here are some ideas to help keep you organized:
    1. A file of homes you have seen, mark them as a yes, no or maybe.  This can be a printed file or online organization such as in the FLEX portal system.
    2. A file of homes you would like to see.  Drive by prior to making an appointment to view.  If the neighborhood, lot, or exterior of home is not appealing, then strike it off the list.
    3. A loan file, with the items the lender will need, such as most recent bank statements and pay stubs.  Consult your lender for a list of items they will need.
    4. Video or photos of homes to refresh your memory or to share with friends or family who are helping in the search.
    5. Buying real estate takes patience.  Take your time and enjoy the process.
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Do you like the lay out?  Can you see yourself living in the home?  Are there more positives than negatives about the home?
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don’t forget such essentials as:
    1. Include inspection & finance contingencies in your written offer.
    2. Have the property inspected by a licensed professional inspector.
    3. Consider additional needed contingencies, such as septic inspection, well inspection, and title contingencies.
    4. Be sure to follow the terms of the purchase and sale agreement, it is a legally binding contract between you and the seller.
  • All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details, keep focus, and manage the process for you is highly recommended.  Please email me or call me directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.  At Debra White Real Estate Group, Inc. we are here to help.