While preparing to buy your first home is exciting, it can easily begin to feel overwhelming once first-time homebuyers begin house hunting.
Here are 5 tips to help you in your search for your dream home.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Applying for pre-approval for a mortgage is a good thing to do once you begin your house hunt. It’s important to know that preapproval is different from pre-qualification – the main difference being that while being pre-qualified for a mortgage estimates the amount you may be loaned, a preapproval letter will provide an exact amount that you will be loaned.
This will be very helpful in making sure that you can find a great home while making sure that it stays within your budget. Keep in mind that pre-approvals are typically valid periods of up to 90 days, so make sure to check with your lender to verify how long you’re pre-approved for.
2. Give Yourself Time to Shop
It can be easy to want to pick a house right away – especially if your initial search for a home hasn’t yielded many results. But while you may be eager to secure a home, buying a home is a long-term investment, making it so important that you invest in the right home for your situation.
When searching for your first home, keep the big picture in mind – maybe there’s a house you’d be willing to settle for now, but will it fit in with your plans in 10 -15 years?
Consider the goals you have, and how the home fits in with them.
3. Determine and Identify Your Wants vs. Needs
If you close your eyes and picture your dream home, what do you see? Maybe you imagine the idyllic white picket fence and single-family suburban home, or maybe you imagine a quaint cottage far removed from the bustle of city life.
Whatever your perfect home might look like when imagined, it’s important to keep in mind that it may not look like the house that ends up being perfect for you.
Take the time to write down everything you hope to find in a home. From this list, identify not just the characteristics that are most important to you, but also areas that you may be willing to compromise on. Doing so will widen the scope of your search and make it more likely that you’ll find a great home.
4. Work With a Realtor
Making sure that you work with a realtor is the smartest way to navigate your journey in buying your first home. Your realtor will know the market better than anyone and will have access to listings you may not have found when searching online.
Discuss the list you’ve made of your wants and needs in your home, and let your realtor know if you’ve already gotten pre-approval or pre-qualified for a mortgage. Your realtor will work with you in making sure you find a home you’ll love – within your budget.
5. Check out Resources for First-Time Homebuyers
There’s a ton of resources available for first time homebuyers, and it’s a wise choice to take advantage of them. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides helpful information on homeowner education, including HUD approved pre-purchase counseling services, information for owning a home, as well as providing homeownership assistance.
Using these tips you’ll be prepared to search for and land your first home. Congratulations on making the decision to become a first-time homebuyer and happy hunting!