5 Steps to Buying Your First Home
When buying your first home, there are two stages -- finding the right home, and then actually buying that home. In her earlier post, Sarah Smith gave 5 pointers on how to find a home -- here she focuses on the financials and process of buying the home.
Buying Your First Place:
- Have your credit checked. Michele Edelstein, realtor with Troop Real Estate, advises prospective homebuyers to have their credit checked six months before buying a place to make sure their FICO score is where it needs to be. Your FICO score determines both your loan rate and approval. If you’re looking to improve your FICO score, Michele suggests not “buying a lot of things [on credit] prior to purchasing a home.”
- Know what you can afford. Michele insists that prospective homebuyers “contact a lender and be pre-approved so they know the price of the house they can afford and won’t be disappointed that they can’t go into the price range they were originally considering.” According to Michele, most people don’t get pre-approved, which usually winds up wasting time and causing problems down the line.
- Look into location. If you’re going to be in this home for any length of time, look into school districts and other things that may not matter to you yet, but could eventually. Also, find out what your city or county taxes would be, as well as if your community has Homeowners’ or Condo Association dues.
- Think twice before buying a home on your own. Buying a home requires real estate and legal savvy, as well as the confidence to negotiate the final price. “Yes, I’m a Realtor,” said Michele, “but there is a reason to use a Realtor, whether you’re buying or selling. They know the contracts. They are the ones who are going to represent you and make sure no one takes advantage of you.”
- Have the house inspected. Once you find a place, have a home inspection done to find out “what is wrong with the place. Even if the person isn’t going to fix it, you need to know that before you make the decision to buy the house.”
Sarah Smith is a recent graduate whose work has appeared in Pasadena Magazine, Vegetarian Times, California Garden, BOP, Tiger Beat and various other publications.
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