Tips and Tricks for First Time Home Buyers

While the thought of granite counter tops and white picket fences are dancing in your head, you don’t want to be carried away by these dreams and left with an actual bill in hand.

This could be one of the biggest purchases in your life. So, before you finally decide to buy your first home, take a look at these tips and be ready to hold the key to your new home.

Attend a seminar for first-time buyers

Before you go behind the wheels, you took some time to learn how to drive. The same principle should also be applied when buying a house. Mind you, this is a big investment. So, you might want to take some time and learn from the experts.

Here, you’ll get a few tips on what to look for when shopping for a home and how to maintain it once you’ve bought it. Most of these seminars are free. So, take advantage of it.

Determine your budget

A five-bedroom and three-bath estate may be your ideal house, but you also have to consider how much you can afford or you’ll end up disappointed.

So, before you head out and look for a perfect house, you might want to sit down and determine your average monthly budget. Then, take a look at your expenses. Now, determine how much you have left. This would be spent on monthly mortgage and home expenses. Also, don’t forget to include all the home-related expenses such as taxes, utility bills and insurance.

Pre-approved loan

This will help you determine how much you can borrow from the lender. By determining your spending range, you can narrow down your search to the houses which are within you budget.

Finding the right agent

An experienced, reliable agent could be your insider into the world of real estate. By choosing the right agent, you have a real asset by your side as you decide to buy your first home. Your real estate agent should be someone who could give you quality advice and someone you can trust.

Feel free to ask around and get suggestions from your family and friends. This might not work if you’re relocating to a new city, though.

 

First Things to Do After Moving Into Your New Home

Now that you have arrived at your new home, you probably think that the hard part is over. Not necessarily. We know that you’ve been quite busy for a few weeks now, making sure that all your personal belongings are packed away into several boxes.

Aside from unloading the truck and arranging the furniture, there are still a lot of things you have to take care of as soon as you move into your new home. Check out the list below to find out.

Start fresh

Before you start unloading your things, it would be best to give it a deep clean. Take advantage of your still-empty abode and clean the windows, baseboards, floors and wipe down all the drawers, shelves and countertops. Cleaning the house will never be this easy again. Think about it, no furniture or rugs to move, no curtains to take down etc.

Inspect your belongings

Once everything has been unloaded from the truck, the first thing you should do is to check your inventory list and make sure that everything has been delivered. Also, check the boxes that contain breakable items to check if they have survived the move.

Get your locks changed

If you are moving into a new house, this might not be necessary but if it’s a pre-owned home, it would be a good idea to change your locks as a safety precaution. Mind you, there may be a key out there floating around that would match your lock.

Enjoy a meal with your family

Moving could be stressful and tiring. So, after a long day of work, this would the perfect time to sit down with your family and unwind together. Well, you don’t have to prepare a fancy, homemade meal. You can just order something for delivery or drive to the nearest restaurant for takeout.

Top Reasons Why You Still Need a Real Estate Agent

With a lot of information readily available online, most people think that they can save a great deal of money if they don’t hire a real estate agent and just do things on their own. While some do okay, it can make the process of buying and selling a house a lot more difficult, time consuming and stressful.

If you are one of those people who have wondered the same thing, here are some obvious reasons why you need the help of a real estate agent.

Education and experience

By hiring someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in this field, you don’t need to know the ins and outs of buying and selling properties. The key is to find the right person.

With the assistance of a real estate agent, you can get things done faster. Plus, these people have the skills to locate the hottest buys if you are planning to buy and to attract buyers if you are planning to sell.

Help in the negotiation process

With the endless negotiations between sellers and buyers, keeping your cool can sometimes be difficult.

A real estate agent provides an emotional buffer between the potential buyer and the seller. Mind you, a seller can reject an offer for a variety of reasons, especially if they felt insulted on your comment about their decorating skills. An agent can speak on your behalf and smooth things over so as to keep things from getting too personal.

Unbiased opinion

A good real estate agent will not only help you highlight the best features of your home, he/she will also pinpoint what will turn buyers off on your current abode.

If you want to sell your house fast, you’ll need to have a good first impression with buyers. Home staging is the key to building a good first impression, and an agent can help you with that.

Inside scoop on the market

Most buyers go online to search for homes for sale. Unfortunately, some sellers don’t want their home publicized. So, you’ll have to talk to an agent to get you in for a tour.

Compared to the web, a real live agent is a much better searcher when it comes to specifics like prices, office spaces, neighborhood etc.

Critical Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Buying a House

Buying a home is a big decision that should be given a lot of thought. A lot of people are thinking about buying a house, but even those people who can afford it and have a good credit score are still hesitant to take the leap.

If you wish to buy a home but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right move right now, these questions will help you reach the right decision.

Can you afford it?

Aside from your ability to cover mortgage payments on a monthly basis, there are still a lot of expenses you have to consider when contemplating whether or not you can afford to buy a home. Mortgage payments and other fees will most likely take 20-30% of your monthly income. Are you comfortable spending that much of your income to buy a home?

Is your income dependable?

Buying a property involves a long-term commitment. You may be able to afford a home on your current income, but are you confident that you’ll still be able to afford it in a few years time?

You might want to put off buying a home unless you have a strong sense of certainty about your financial future or are established in your line of work.

Do you plan to stay put?

Most first-time homebuyers do not consider whether or not they’ll be staying permanently when they buy the house. But buying a home wouldn’t make sense unless you are planning to stay there for at least 7 years. Most of the time, it takes this long to recover from all the costs of buying a home.

If you’re not planning on spending the rest of your life in the same house, then you should consider the resale value of the house.

Will you be able to maintain the house?

When you buy a house, the responsibility of maintaining the house comes with it. The hardwood floors you fell in love with are going to need basic maintenance. That floor to ceiling windows need to be washed on a regular basis. The backyard needs to be mowed and the list goes on.

If you are a busy person, it might be extremely difficult to look after those things. So, before you decide if it’s the right house for you, you also have to consider the maintenance.

 

Home Buying Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Most first-time home buyers tend to seek advice from their family and friends about the process. As a result, a number of home buying myths may have found refuge at the back of their minds.

Here are 4 home buying myths you need to stop believing.

Buying is always better than renting

This actually depends on a number of factors including the price of the home and how long you intend to stay in it.

Generally, it takes 5 to 7 years to break even with the cost of buying, owning and selling a house. So, if you are planning to buy a house, make sure that you intend to stay for at least that long.

A 30-year fixed rate mortgage is always the best choice

Fixed rate mortgages come with a low foreclosure rate, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always the best choice. Mind you, the longer you stay in debt, the more interest you pay.

Paying interest over a span of 30 years, this can easily translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars. That said, there is a great chance that you may not be able to prepare for your retirement.

You need perfect credit to buy a home

It is a well-known fact that your credit score can have a great impact on the mortgage loan approval process. But, you don’t need to have a perfect credit in order to secure an approval. Keep in mind, though, that the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get the best deal.

Choose the lender with the lowest interest rate

For most people, cost is always a factor to consider but in this case, your lender’s reliability is what matters most. In a competitive buying market, this could make a big difference.

Also, you’ll want a lender who can work well with your real estate agent. So, don’t hesitate to ask your agent for referrals.

 

4 Tips for Painless Closing Day

Between the number crunching, mortgage paperwork, home inspection and negotiation, we can safely say that the home buying process is an enormous time-suck. The entire process may take several months. You don’t want to make it any longer by facing some problems during closing.

Preparation is the key to a successful closing. There are certain steps that must be completed to ensure that closing goes off without a hitch.

Here are 4 things you should do for a painless closing day.

Contact all parties involved

Talk to your real estate agent, your loan officer and your attorney a week before closing. Feel free to ask any questions you may have about the process. Make sure that all your concerns are addressed well before the closing date. Knowing what to expect and communicating with all parties involved are the key to a successful closing.

Hire a real estate attorney

Since closing is a legal transaction, you need the services of a lawyer. A few days before closing, you’ll need to meet with your lawyer to review the sales contract before you sign it.

Acquire certified funds

Your real estate agent or closing agent can provide you a copy of the closing statement. Here, you’ll find the amount you owe at the closing table.

Since personal checks will not be accepted at closing, you’ll need to go to the bank to get a cashier’s or certified check a day before closing. Alternatively, you can arrange a wire transfer from your bank account to the closing agent’s account.

Go on the final walk-through inspection

The day before the closing, buyers typically do a final walk through of the property. This is done in order to ensure that the property is in the same condition as when you ratified the contract to purchase it.

House Hunting Tips to Help You Make the Right Choice

House hunting is one of the most exciting parts of buying a house. After all, you are on your way to finding your dream home. But house hunting can be stressful and overwhelming if you don’t stay focused and organized.

In this blog post, we listed down some tips to make the house hunting process easier and more effective. Use these tips to help you find your dream home.

Research before viewing

Most sellers would list their properties online. This would be the best place to start the home buying process. Browse through the online listings and list down some of the properties you’re interested in.

Use online resources to research before viewing. Look for houses that have features you want, fits your budget, and looks nice. Also, plan your route so you can visit a few houses within one drive around.

Identify your housing needs

Before you go out there and start looking at houses, you need to decide what features you want and need in a house. Make a list of these features, and make sure that you bring this list with you.

It can be easy to get swept away with features such as hardwood floors, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. This is actually fine if it’s within your budget. But if not, then you need to let go. There is no point in buying a gorgeous house with top-of-the-line appliances if you can’t afford it. No house, no matter how perfect it is, is worth being house poor over.

Make sure you’re free the entire afternoon

Some people fail to realize this, but house hunting can be time consuming. So if you are planning to look at a few houses, make sure that you free up at least a few hours of your day. Otherwise, you may find yourself rushing.

A house is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. If you find a house that you like, it is best to linger for a while and look closely at every aspect of the house. You want to take notes and take photos of each house you look at. This way, it will be easier for you to compare the properties later on and make a more informed decision.

3 Things You Need to Know About Buying a House in Summer

Summer is one of the busiest times of the year for the real estate market. It provides the perfect opportunity for aspiring homeowners to find their dream home. The weather is warm, the kids are on vacation, and they can settle in on their new home before the school year starts.

If you are considering buying a house this summer, then this blog post is for you. Here are 3 things you need to know about buying a house in summer.

The inventory might go down

Most sellers wait until spring to list their homes, so there are lots of inventories in spring and summer. Most buyers don’t want to wait until the end of the summer to buy a house. Many of them are looking to speed up the buying process as they want to move in and settle in their new home before the school year starts.

Some sellers, on the other hand, would take their homes off the market temporarily by the end of the summer. Considering how exhausting and stressful selling a house is, they use this time to go on a vacation with their family. Expect a reduction in inventory at the end of the house. Majority of the house may have already been sold, while others were taken off the market temporarily.

Consider fixer-uppers

Finding a big house in a good location and affordable price is a dream most aspiring homeowners share. In a tight housing market, there is often a shortage of modestly-priced, move-in ready homes. As an alternative, you may want to look at fixer-uppers. With a little elbow grease and some creativity, you can it into your dream home.

But before buying a fixer upper, we highly recommend that you hire a home inspector. A home inspection will give you a good idea about the overall condition of the property. If the house has some minor issues that can easily be fixed, then go ahead with the purchase. If

Cash is king

The competition is high during the summer. This isn’t the time for low ball offers. If you are serious about buying the house, make sure that you make the strongest offer. The best offer doesn’t always equate to the highest offer.

Cash is still king when it comes to home buying. In a hot market where there are multiple offers, sellers often choose an all cash offer over those with FHA or conventional loan financing. With the money on hand, it eliminates the risk of closing delays. Since the buyer doesn’t need to obtain a home loan, they no longer need to wait for 30 to 45 days. Closing can take place in as little as 7 days.