Are you ready to venture from being a renter to being a homeowner? Maybe you plan to live in your city forever or perhaps this first home is simply one stop on the road to being a landlord yourself. No matter what your long-term goals are with your first home, there are some important considerations to think through. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Know Your Budget
Getting pre-qualified or pre-approved with a couple of different lenders can help you determine how much you can afford to buy. If you have cash in hand for the entire sale, that simplifies things even more. With a home sale, there are fees you’ll have to pay at closing to cover the costs of your real estate agent, bank fees, and more. If you have a down payment of 20% of the home price or more, you’re more likely to get a better interest rate and you won’t need to pay mortgage insurance which can be an added cost.
Use a Real Estate Agent
Not all realtors are created equal. When looking for homes for sale in Burlington, choosing a real estate agent who is helpful, responsive, answers your questions, and isn’t too salesy or pushy is important. At the end of the day, of course, they want the sale, but you don’t want to hire someone who is constantly showing you homes outside of your budget range. A good agent will listen to your wants and needs and respect the amount of money you can afford. You can find a first-time home buyer real estate agent online in your area or you can get referrals from friends, family, and even co-workers.
Ignore the Paint Colors
If you walk into a home that has a variety of paint colors that you hate, do your best to look past it. Paint colors are one of the easiest fixes in a home and if you can see the home beyond the bright green on the wall, you might get the perfect first home for you. While you might expect to walk into houses and all of them to look HGTV ready, the reality is that most people don’t follow the rules on the TV. You might walk into homes with dated wallpaper or a rainbow of colors in the weirdest places. Don’t let these minor things scare you away.
Be Realistic About What Your Budget Can Afford You
Many first-time homebuyers are early in their careers. This means that they may not have as much capital for a down payment or they may not have a high income yet. This means that their buying power is lower than it might be in ten years down the road. This can create a disconnect that makes it hard to be practical about buying a home. There are so many emotions involved in the process that buying a home that feels lesser can be disappointing.
While you might want a perfectly designed home with custom features in a brand-new neighborhood, your budget might put you in an older neighborhood with homes that just need a little updating to make them yours. New carpet, paint on the walls, new cabinet doors, and even new fixtures are all minor fixes to turn a dated, but great home into the showroom-ready look you desire.
Research the School Districts
Finding a home that not only meets your needs but also those of your children or future children is important. One of the things you can do is to research the neighborhood schools. There are plenty of websites that help you determine what people love about their schools and what they’d like to see changed. Kids can thrive even in mediocre schools with the right parental support. Choose school districts that have the programs your kids need, are safe, and have staff that genuinely care about the kids.
Get an Inspection
Some loans require your home to be inspected prior to purchase, while others do not. A home inspection can cost a few hundred dollars, but it’s worth every penny. A good inspector will look for structural issues, visible mold issues, electrical issues, and so much more. They will check the electrical outlets, make sure the HVAC and water all work. They’ll also look to see if they can find any leaks as well. Don’t skip the inspection. It’s worth the money to find out now that your roof needs replacing, and that the foundation is cracking and will need to be fixed.