May 20, 2013
Good Stuff Moving Tips for First Time Homebuyers
Buying your first home is one of the most exciting and transformational events in life. Home ownership has traditionally been seen as part and parcel to achieving the American dream and each year millions of first time buyers take the plunge.
At Good Stuff Moving we have helped thousands of families move into their first home and we have been privileged to share in the excitement of this milestone. However, we also know how challenging the home buying process can be especially for first time buyers. As with any big investment, there are a myriad of things to consider. Therefore, we offer some tips on beginning the process of buying your first home.
The First Step… Know Thyself.
Take time to contemplate whether you are emotionally, psychologically, physically and financially ready to become a homeowner.
Know what you want in a home- think about what features are most important to you. Make a list of what features are negotiable and which are deal breakers. Make sure the home, the neighborhood and the general area you choose will serve your needs for at least five years. Buying is only better than renting economically if you stay put.
Know what you can afford- there are tons of mortgage calculators available on line. It’s a good idea to tryout several of the calculators and don’t be surprised if the results vary widely. Ultimately, the calculator your lender uses will be the final arbiter.
Generally your monthly payment should be between 25% and 33% of your gross monthly income. In addition be prepared for paying between 2% and 7% over the selling price to cover closing costs, points, fees and inspections. You should also take into account property taxes and maintenance costs along with predictable and unexpected repairs.
Know your credit record- if you have credit card debt or any other blemishes on your record that lenders may find unattractive, it may be better to continue renting until the debt is paid off to achieve better terms on your loan. Either way, obtain a credit report to know what your status is before applying for a loan.
Step Two… Shop Around
Interview several Real Estate Agents and Brokers- the person you choose will be working with you for an extended period of time and representing your interests. Make sure the agent is not only competent but that you feel comfortable working with them.
Pound the Pavement- look at as many houses as you possible can with or without your agent. Look at homes that are above and below your price range to get a feel for the market. When you can’t take one more weekend filled with open houses give yourself a break and do something completely unrelated to house hunting, then start again the following weekend. Most importantly don’t settle because you are tired of looking. In the long run your due diligence will pay off.
Don’t be swayed by cosmetic issues- these things can be changed. Focus on the features of the home and the condition of its infrastructure. Big-ticket items like the roofing system; plumbing, heating and cooling systems, these are the true assets of the home. If they are in disrepair they become a liability.
Start in the basement- look at water heaters and furnaces for age and rust. Look for mold on the walls or water intrusion. No matter how perfect the house’s features are if the infrastructure is in bad shape then move on. Later in the buying process when you have found a home that suits your needs you will hire an inspector to really get into the guts of the property, but some initial investigating will avoid paying an inspector to tell you what you could have seen yourself, for example the house has mold.
Here at Good Stuff Moving we applaud first time homebuyers for taking the plunge and we are dedicated to making the move into your new home a stress free transition. We offer great low rates and our licensed and insured professionals can perform a free on site quote for your move. Give Good Stuff Moving a call today.
Check back for part two in our series for first time homebuyers. We love to hear from you so please share your home buying experiences with us, or any home buying tips you have in our comment section below, and happy hunting.