Before you set the tip of your big toe across the starting line of your house-hunting journey, take a little bit of time to gather up as many tips and as much information you can about the process. Knowledge is power, and you can convert that power into a pleasant and profitable real estate investment if you focus your energy on awareness. Find out what other first-time buyers have to say, ask real estate agents their best tips for first time buyers. Read articles. Then, when you’re armed and ready with all the information you need, you can set out on the journey of a lifetime to search for your perfect starter house. Here are some tips for first-time buyers.
Keep the Investment Financial, Not Emotional
Hardest part. Do not sink your heart into any house, or even into the position of homeowner. What you’re on is a journey with no guarantees of a particular destination. Many things could go wrong along the way that could equate to devastating deal breakers. Put your heart on lockdown and let your business mind take the wheel. It’s okay to weigh pros and cons or to make notes of features you like, but do whatever you can to avoid tripping yourself up by falling head-over-heels in love with a dream that may not manifest.
Stay the Course | Perform Consistent Reality Checks
You’re not ready to move to the next step in real estate until you’ve completed the previous step. Period. There are no cheats, no shortcuts, and where you may be able to rob Peter to pay Paul to buy the illusion of instant gratification, any compromises or concessions you make now will resurface later with a bigger bite. For example, you’re not ready to shop for houses until you have real estate agent. You’re not ready to work with an agent until you’ve been pre-approved for your home mortgage loan. You’re not prepared to apply for your mortgage loan until you’ve cleaned your credit score and debt-to-income ratio, which you shouldn’t focus on until after you’ve saved adequately. Follow the path. Stay the course. Do the deeds. Complete the tasks – even if it takes a thousand times longer than you thought, or is more challenging than you’d imagined.
Do you know who pays your agent? It’s not you. Do you know what lending options are available from various financial institutions? You should. Do you know all the steps a real estate transaction goes through from list to close? If not, then how will you know where you are in your journey? Before you call agents and start penciling in house-hunting dates on your digital agenda, schedule some time to study the process, map the course, and understand what it is you’ll be experiencing along the way. Don’t go in blind if you don’t have it. You’ll save yourself and all other parties involved some frustration by learning the steps to buying a house.
You may not have any intention of ever selling this house that you’re about to buy. But you never know what events may unfold that can change the course of your destiny. Think about resale value.
Think about escrow earnings. Think about variable vs. fixed interest rates and special programs for lower down payments. A lot of programs and work-arounds exist that can help people who can’t really afford it qualify for the purchase of a house. Some deals can lower your down payment, assist with closing costs, or can otherwise give a buyer a bump to help them over the hurdle. Unfortunately, these conditions can also lead to homeowners being upside-down in the property, meaning they owe more than the house is worth. Although you’re excited and willing to jump through hoops of fire to qualify for a home mortgage loan, think about the long term plans, too – not just the instant gratification.
Speaking of instant gratification, that’s an illusion in the realm of real estate. Every single part of the process takes time, and the transaction can feel like it has the same stretch and pull power of salt-water taffy. But be patient. Stay the course. Keep calm, and buy a house.
Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give Jeremy Mellick a call today at 206-260-1260 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.