First-Time Home Buyers - Are You Ready For Homeownership?

Owning a home may be your dream, but in order for the purchase to be the happy and satisfying experience it was meant to be, you need to ensure that you are financially and mentally prepared for the responsibilities that come with it.

Some people have a notion that home ownership is like renting, but with the power to have pets and paint the walls whatever color you like. However, while these privileges are available to homeowners in most municipalities, they come with the responsibilities of a mortgage, taxes and home maintenance. Preparing for home ownership requires you to take critical stock of your finances and your expectations.

Questions for prospective homeowners

Are you ready to buy?
Owning your own home is about more than just being able to decorate any way you like; it's about being prepared to maintain your home over the years, realizing that part of your income and time will go towards repairs and maintenance. It's about being willing to take the risks of home ownership with a realistic expectation of the rewards.

How much can you afford?
It can be discouraging to find that your salary won't stretch as far as the home you want to own. However, sacrificing a huge part of your income just to pay the mortgage can very quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a point of pride. It's better to buy a modest home now and look at purchasing your "dream home" in a few years.

How do you know how much you can afford as a first time homebuyer?
Get pre-approved.  Talk with a mortgage professional and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home. While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. 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.

What do you want in a home?
Make 2 lists of your needs and wants. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, location, do you want a condo, townhouse or single-family home, etc.). The second list is your wish list - things you would like to have (pool, water view, garage, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, bu the answers to these questions can help you narrow down the home search for the right type of property for you.

If you are a first-time home buyer, we can help

You need an expereinced, local Realtor who will work hard for you. We are dedicated to helping you find the right home, at the best price. We want you to find the home that will make you happy and successful in real estate ownership. When you hire us to help you buy your first home, we want to know what you want and how much you can afford. Then we'll find a way to merge these two priorities and find a residence that you'll enjoy owning.

Keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical sense, so keep your feelings in check. Keep in mind the features that you need and want in a home, and judge each home by your needs and wants instead of by details that could distract you from your goal oh homeownership. With your agent, you can go over the pros and cons of each home and we can help you stay on track while still keeping our eyes out for a great property.

Make the offer. This can be a maze of "buyer", "seller", "deposit", and "contingencies". We'll be happy to prepare the paperwork and go through everything with you before submitting it. Hopefully the seller will accept your offer, but remember, the seller can counter or reject your offer if they feel the offer is not acceptbale to them.  Rest assured, we will help you navigate your best options if this happens. Also, when we submit the offer, you'll have to write a deposit check that proves the seriousness of your offer.

Get all necessary inspections done. Various inspections can check for issues with the home, signs of asbestos, lead paint and mold. They can also check for evidence of pests, faulty wiring and leaks. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection done means that you could be stuck in a home with issues that could have easily been found. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars, but again, this is more than worth it in the end. There are several inspectors in the area that we'd be happy to recommend.

Engage the services of a good settlement company or settlement attorney. We can recommend several lawyers and title companies in the area who would be a good fit for you. The legalities of transferring land ownership can be dodgy, and a lawyer can be your best defense against future legal troubles.

Do a final walk-thru before closing. We'd be happy to do this with you to make sure that everything agreed upon is completed prior to the final signing of the settlement documents.

All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss how we can make the home buying process easier