5 Must-Knows Before Buying Your First Home

Posted on Feb 17, 2016

Be prepared with these 5 tips on home buying

So you’re ready to buy your first house, eh? Congratulations! Homeownership is an exciting journey – one you’ll share with 64.9% of Americans. It can be a great investment for yourself and your community, but it’s important to consider a few things before you get started. Here are a handful of tips to prepare you for buying a house.

Get an Agent

Obviously, as a brokerage, we are partial to people using real estate agents for their transaction, but it truly is in your best interest. Having an agent (at least what we can say for Houwzer clients) will allow you to:

  • Negotiate the nuances. Your agent will negotiate price, conditions, repairs, settlement details, and anything else that pops up during your transaction with a seller. And, when you go with a salaried Houwzer agent, you can rest easy knowing they are more concerned with you putting in an offer that gets you the best value, not the highest commission check.
  • Keep you on track with deadlines. Missing just one moving part in your signed contract can lose your dream house. Your agent is there to make sure that doesn’t happen. An agent will also discuss extending deadlines with the seller’s agent when necessary and make sure you have the time you need to complete your end of the contract.
  • Be your cheerleader. Buying a house can be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. Go with an agent who will prepare you for each step of the process, calm you down if things go awry, and celebrate with you when you get those coveted keys at the closing table.
  • Educate you on the process. Being an informed buyer is so important in having a successful home buying experience. With Houwzer, you have the option of going through our 1 hour Homebuyer 101. During this time we will prepare you for what to expect and be able to answer any questions you may have.
  • *Tip* Most people who are buying a house for the first time don’t realize that you don’t pay your agent as a buyer (or as a seller if you work with Houwzer). The seller will be responsible to pay your agent at the closing table.

Get Prequalified

Before you are deep in the home search, find out how much a lender will approve a loan for your purchase. Having a prequalification letter in advance makes the offer process less stressful and will help you get your offer in quicker, which could mean beating out someone else’s offer. It will also dig up any issues you may not be aware of that could prevent you from securing a loan down the line. The process is fairly informal and primarily includes a conversation with a loan officer about your income and expenses.

Narrow Down Your Search

If you are familiar with the area you are moving to, you probably already know the parameters for your home search. Have those in mind when you meet with your agent, and they will set up a search for all the properties on the market in that area. Not only can you do your own research online, but you’ll receive daily updates on new listings by email of all the properties that meet your criteria. New to the area? Houwzer agents are neighborhood experts and can point you in the best direction to focus your search to meet your needs.

Move Fast

Once you are mentally and financially ready to become a homeowner, act fast when a property catches your eye. If you are interested in it, someone else most likely is as well. This is where having the prequalification will become useful. Get in to see the property as soon as you can with your agent. If it’s Monday, don’t wait for the weekend to come around – it may be gone by then.

Don’t Look for Perfection

Very rarely will you find a home without flaws. All homes have their quirks. Know what you need done before you move in and what can wait for later. Your Houwzer agent will give you an idea of what you can expect while showing you the house, but opting in for a home inspection will give you a full report of issues to be aware of. You and your agent will discuss what to ask the seller to fix, if anything, and this will become another area of negotiation that you can lean on your agent for. Keep in mind that this is usually the final milestone of the contract where you can walk away from the agreement if you aren’t happy with what the report finds.

Give us a shout when you are ready to get started. We’d love to help you find your dream home and celebrate with you when you do.

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