11 Essential Tips For First-Time Homebuyers

You might finally be ready to move out on your own, or you want more room to expand your family. Maybe renting isn’t working for your wallet anymore. Whatever the reason is, buying your first home is an exciting process. Before you start house hunting, check out Ryan Homes at Brunswick Crossing’s essential tips to buying your first home: 

  1. Check your credit score. This number is one of the most important factors when it comes to buying a home. It affects your mortgage rate, loans, and monthly payments. The higher your credit score is (and the lower your debt), the better your rates will be.

  2. Budget. If you don’t already, get into the habit of budgeting. Save up money for the down payment and the closing costs, but don’t forget to consider interest, taxes, insurance, utilities, cost of commuting, upgrades, and additions. While you’re budgeting…

  3. Track your money. Now is a good time to keep track of where your money goes. For a few months prior to purchasing a home, understand your monthly cash flow to see what kind of home you can afford. Keeping these records will also help you see how mortgage lenders will view your income.

  4. Organize your documents. While you’re tracking your spending habits, organize your paystubs, bank statements, tax returns, W-2s, and bills. It may seem excessive, but most mortgage lenders want to see all of these papers.

  5. Learn how to negotiate. Remember: Negotiating is about getting the best value, not trying to receive more for less. Understand what your home is worth by considering how much a similarly sized local property cost, how long the home has been on the market, and what condition the home is in. Speaking of its condition...

  6. Get a home inspection. Nothing is worse than walking into your dream home to find out it has cracked foundation or moldy walls. It’s worth the expense to hire a home inspector to make sure your new home is problem-free. Check the American Society of Home Inspectors and the National Association of Home Inspectors to ensure a quality inspection.

  7. Prioritize your needs and wants. You may want an open concept home, but is it OK if it’s not near a school? If you want a home near the water, is a longer commute acceptable? Make sure you write a clear list of what you need in a home and what you want.

  8. Know your mortgage options. There isn’t a “one size fits all” mortgage option. Check out the Maryland Mortgage Program to see what’s best for your new home.

  9. Find the right realtor. To find the best realtor for your home buying experience, ask for previous references, fact-check their local knowledge, and use personal connections.

  10. Read the contract. Request a draft copy of all signing documents before the closing date. This will give you a chance to thoroughly review everything before you get the keys.

  11. Take your time. The biggest piece of advice is to take your time with everything. Though some homes sell quickly, it’s more important that you’ve saved up at least 20 percent of the down payment. You may be itching to get the keys, but if that section of your contract makes you uneasy, talk about it with your realtor. Don’t settle for a home you’re not in love with just because you’re ready to move. By taking your time, you’ll have a better first-time homebuyer’s experience.

From managing your money to simply taking your time, the home buying process should be a little easier with these tips for first timers.