A Guide To Home Buying

Buying a Home is a Big Deal!!

Too often, people rush into home ownership because it’s seen as a sign of adulthood and financial responsibility. Home ownership is an awesome experience. But, don’t jump in without doing your homework. I highly recommend getting a good real estate agent and loan officer involved early in the process. The longest I was involved with a couple was five years before they were able to start looking for a home. Usually, six months to a year before you buy is a good idea. Get an expert involved early in the process. This will help to make everything go much smoother.

Owning a home is a big commitment, it’s not a guaranteed good investment, and it’s a truckload of work. I’ve been a homeowner since 1990 and I have always had a growing list of things to do (it’s not always the creative paradise those remodeling shows make it out to be). Buy a home because you are ABLE and WANT a home.

One other major aspect, and this is hard to believe, lots of people own homes and yet their finances are a mess! Home ownership can be a smart long-term move, but you want to know what you’re getting into.

Ask yourself: "Is it really time for me to buy a home?"

Don’t buy a home just because everybody’s doing it (they’re not) or because your Uncle Bob told you that it’s stupid to “throw money away” on rent (he’s wrong, too).

Don’t buy a home because it’s a buyer’s market or just because mortgage rates are low. Buy a home because you want to be a homeowner. Buy a home because you’re settling down and need a place for live for at least five years. And only buy a home if you’re financially ready. Consider the following articles from moneyunder30.com. They share some very practical advice:

Determine how you will afford your home

For most people, your home is the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy. And for most people a big loan will be needed to do it…in other words, a mortgage. You may remember all the foreclosures that happened during the recession. A mortgage is not something to be taken lightly.

Get pre-approved for your loan. Find a good loan officer to help you. If you don’t have a good loan officer, talk with your real estate agent. They can provide you with one to talk with. The loan officer will be able to look at your current situation and guide you from there. If you are able to qualify for a loan, the loan officer can provide you a pre-approval letter. This is important to have before you make an offer on a home. It tells the seller that you not only want to buy a home, but that you are able to buy.

To qualify for your mortgage loan, you’ll need good credit, a steady job, and a sizable chunk of cash for a down payment.

Avoid creating a financial disaster by preparing your finances before going house hunting! If you can’t afford a home or you are unable to get a loan, there is nothing wrong with renting until you are. And don’t buy a home at or over the top of your price range! You may have a nice home. But, if you have to eat Ramon Noodles because you can’t afford groceries, financial troubles are on the horizon.

Go shopping for your first home

It may be you didn’t realize you wanted to own a home until you see your dream home. Or you may have been simply in the discovery phase of your search for several months. Either way, shopping for a home can be a long and taxing experience.

Avoid agents who try to sell you a home! As an agent, my job is NOT to sell you a home. It is not my job to steer you toward a home just because I like it. I have found that a home will general sell itself. Once we have seen a list of homes, my job as the agent is to simply present the facts about each home. Point out the various pro’s and con’s, and provide any advice and opinions that might help in the decision process. My philosophy is to go into the search with the end in mind. The decisions you make now will affect you when you sell that home later…value and/or resale ability.

Do NOT try to fit a square peg into a round hole. If you are having doubts about a home, it’s usually best to just walk away…don’t try to make it work. You could end up regretting the decision to buy that home. I’ve always advised my clients to be patient. Although, I’ve been able to help people find the right home in one day. There have also been times it took several months. The right one will come along.

Above all, have fun! Yes, it can be stressful. A good real estate agent will help manage the process. They will guide you through it and provide you with expectations so that you will not be blindsided. When done right, the home search and ownership experience is truly wonderful. Enjoy!