First Time Buying a Home?
Learn Hudson Modern’s Top 5 Tips
Congratulations on embarking on the journey towards home ownership! It’s an exciting time, but if you’re completely new to real estate, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. You might be thinking: “What do all these terms mean? How do I start looking? Do I need a broker?”
You’re already on the right track just by reading this article. Doing your research is key as you prepare to buy your first home. The more informed you are, the easier it will be for you to make the best decisions with confidence. Lucky you, there’s a wealth of information about real estate readily available.
Let’s dig in. Here are some things to keep in mind so you feel empowered throughout the process.
1. First Things First: Take a Look at Your Finances
Working out your finances is a crucial first step in this process. Meeting with a financial adviser can be very helpful, but at a minimum, just sit down and take a good look at your finances. What can you afford to put towards a down payment? This number will give you a great starting point to begin your real estate search.
Bonus points: you can obtain a pre-qualification letter you’re your bank that will outline what a lender believes they can lend you based on your credit score, income, and tax bracket. This letter will give you a head start on making an offer once you do find a property you’re interested in buying. If you have this letter, your offer will be taken more seriously (this is especially important if the property you’re looking at is highly desired and the seller has multiple offers.)
2. Do Some Soul Searching: What Are you Looking For?
What do you already know about what you want? Perhaps you know the area where you’d like to buy, or you have a vision for what the house or land looks like. These initial insights are key to the successful start of your journey.
What are your non-negotiables? What are you willing to be flexible about? It’s important to remain open as you learn more about the practical side of the process, but establish from the start what you’re willing to give up (an in-ground swimming pool, for instance) and what you aren’t (proximity to your office, for example) as your search develops. This will make your search a lot smoother and ensure you don’t waste time deliberating about buying a property that ultimately isn’t right for you.
3. Get to Know the Key Players (and Remember - The Pros Are Your Allies)
Let’s discuss the other people you’ll be collaborating with on your home purchase.
As the buyer, you have the option of working with a Buyer’s Broker who will:
get to know you and your needs
represent your best interests (they are legally required to do so)
be on the lookout for off-the-market properties that you won’t see on Zillow or Trulia
flag any potential issues with the deal
shepherd your purchase through to the finish line
The best part? Their fee doesn’t come out of your pocket. (It’s paid for by the seller.) Sounds pretty nice right?
A Seller’s Broker is the agent that lists the property.
They can also become a dual agent that handles both sides of the contract signing.
A competent, local attorney. After your offer is accepted, a lawyer will ensure:
the contracts are in compliance with the laws
that you remain protected the whole way through.
Choosing a local attorney is an advantage because they’ll be able to answer any location specific questions (like building regulations), and may have crucial information on the seller or seller’s property you may not find out otherwise.
4. Familiarize Yourself with the Process
Every real estate purchase is slightly different, but there are some general steps that will always be part of the process.
If you’re working with a broker, they can walk you through the purchase steps. Or, if you prefer to do some research on your own, a quick Google search will bring up a plethora of information.
5. Take Your Time
Don’t look at too many properties in one day. This can be exhausting and take a lot of the joy out of the discovery process. If you’re working with a broker, they’ll plan out your showing days, but if you decide to fly solo, we recommend clustering showings in a relatively close area. This keeps the driving to a minimum and the showing to a maximum.
Don’t rush into a neighborhood. Give yourself a chance to experience the neighborhood as a local by biking, walking into town, go shopping in the local grocery store. You could even try renting a nearby AirBnB for a truly immersive experience.