Margo Delaney's Blog
The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. You’re no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.
As a first-time buyer, there’s a lot to learn about buying a house. You’ll often hear homeowners say, “I wish I knew that before buying this house.” So, in this article, we’re going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.
1. Underestimating the costs
When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount they’re approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses you’ll need to account for in your budget.
You’ll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you won’t have anything left over to maintain your house.
Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.
2. Prequalify first
Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. You’ll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you don’t get prequalified first.
3. This probably isn’t your last home
While it’s okay to dream about the future, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.
4. Don’t get too attached to your “dream home”
So, you’ve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesn’t, don’t worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and there’s a good chance you’ll like one even more than this one.
5. Don’t waive contingencies without good reason
Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.
The three main contingencies you’ll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless you’re buying under special circumstances, you’ll want to keep all three in your contract.
A home appraisal often helps a property seller determine how to price his or her residence. As such, an appraisal is important. And with a great appraisal, a seller may boost the likelihood of earning top dollar for his or her house.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to trust the final results of a house appraisal, and these reasons include:
1. A home appraisal is conducted by a property expert.
An expert home appraiser will allocate significant time and resources to complete his or her report. This professional also will perform a home analysis as part of his or her assessment. That way, a home appraiser can provide an accurate property valuation.
As you consider home appraisers, you may want to search for professionals with comprehensive experience. By doing so, you can find a home appraiser who knows the ins and outs of evaluating properties.
2. A home appraisal is based on your home's condition and real estate market data.
Although many home sellers believe an appraisal's property valuation is based solely on the age and condition of a house, other factors come into play. In fact, a home appraiser generally evaluates the current state of the housing market, the prices of comparable houses that recently sold and other real estate market data to determine the optimal property valuation.
Of course, it typically is a good idea to perform myriad property upgrades before an appraisal is completed. This may help you improve your chances of receiving the best-possible property valuation.
3. A home appraisal provides home selling insights you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
A home seller won't have to wait too long to receive an appraisal report, as a home appraiser usually can provide this report over the course of a few days. Meanwhile, the report includes a property valuation and other home insights that a seller may be unable to obtain elsewhere. And as a result, the report may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for a seller who wants to maximize the value of his or her house.
When it comes to conducting a home appraisal, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can explain how a home appraisal works and answer any concerns or questions that you may have. Plus, a real estate agent may be able to put you in touch with the top-rated home appraisers in your city or town.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the house selling journey, either. A real estate agent will help you list your home and promote it to prospective buyers. And if you receive an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent can offer a recommendation about how to proceed with this homebuying proposal.
Ready to add your residence to the real estate market? Perform a house appraisal, and you can move one step closer to establishing a competitive initial asking price for your home.
Want to make your homeownership dream a reality? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and a first-time homebuyer can move closer than ever before to acquiring his or her ideal residence.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to receive pre-approval for a mortgage, including:
1. You can establish a realistic homebuying budget.
Entering the housing market for the first time can be challenging. In fact, many first-time homebuyers struggle to establish realistic expectations before they begin their home search. And as a result, these homebuyers may end up spending too much for a house.
Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage enables a homebuyer to enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. This ensures a homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.
Pre-approval for a mortgage also allows a homebuyer to map out his or her homebuying journey. With a plan in place, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to acquire a top-notch residence that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.
2. You can speed up the homebuying journey.
Although a first-time homebuyer can always submit an offer on a home without a mortgage in hand, doing so may be tricky. In some cases, it may even slow down the homebuying process, especially if a homebuyer has to allocate significant time and resources to find a mortgage lender.
On the other hand, a homebuyer who gets pre-approved for a mortgage should have no trouble accelerating the property buying cycle. This homebuyer will know exactly how much money is at his or her disposal, and as a result, can speed up the homebuying journey.
3. You can gain a competitive advantage over rival homebuyers.
In many instances, a home seller may be more likely to accept a proposal from a first-time homebuyer who has been pre-approved for a mortgage versus an offer from a buyer who still needs to obtain a mortgage.
A homebuyer who has a mortgage likely won't have to wait too long to acquire a house. Conversely, a homebuyer who needs to apply for a mortgage after an offer has been submitted may need to wait many weeks or months to complete a home sale.
Clearly, there are many great reasons for a first-time homebuyer to receive pre-approval for a mortgage. For homebuyers who want to ensure the best results possible, it certainly helps to collaborate with an experienced real estate agent too.
An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will do whatever it takes to help a homebuyer streamline the property buying journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings and negotiate with a home seller on a property buyer's behalf. Plus, he or she is happy to provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help a homebuyer make his or her homeownership dream come true.
Take the next step to acquire your dream residence – get pre-approved for a mortgage today, and a first-time homebuyer can get the necessary financing to purchase his or her ideal house.
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There is a lot to think about when you know you’re ready to sell your home. The best approach is to take things step-by-step in order to get everything right.
Make Necessary Repairs
Before you even decide to put a “for sale” sign out front, you’ll want to address the problems in your home that you know about. If the roof needs to be replaced, or you know you need a new refrigerator, you should tend to those things as soon as possible. While these items can be an expense for you, completing these things before the sale of the home will increase the value of the home and save you some aggravation when it comes time for the home inspection.
Don’t forget about the small details as you look at what needs to be done on your property. Does the doorbell ring? Are the lightbulbs all working? These small details are just as important as the big stuff.
Find A Real Estate Agent
Finding a real estate agent isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. You want an agent who understands your needs and is an expert in your particular market. You can check with your family and friends to see if they have a particular agent who they recommend. Also, you might check out reviews online to help you discover an agent. Do you have a particular agency in mind? Give them a call and they can set you up with one of their agents. Many agents will be happy to provide a number of references of recent sales if you inquire.
Find Out How Your Home Will Be Marketed
If your home won’t be on social media, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. You’ll need lots of good photos and maybe even a video tour of your home. You should definitely be sure that your home is being marketed on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to name a few social networks. These networks even offer paid ads to help you reach the right buyers. Talk with your realtor to see what the plan for marketing your home sale is.
Prepare For Home Showings
While you still might need to live in your home while you’re selling it, you want the property to be presentable. Start at the curb of your home and work your way to the inside. The property should look presentable from the moment buyers pull up to the house. The lawn should be mowed, the landscaping should be trimmed, and the inside of the home should be thoroughly cleaned. This will seal the deal on the sale of your property after all of the other hard work has been done.