Top Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Welcome! You’ve come to the next big step in your life.

Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the process.
“Get the house you want for a price you can afford – and with a smile on your face.”

Considerations Before You Buy

The first thing you’ll need to determine is what your long-term goals are and then how home ownership fits in with those plans. It could be that you’re simply looking to transform all those “wasted” rent payments into mortgage payments that actually give you something tangible. Others see home ownership as a sign of their independence and enjoy the idea of being their own landlord and not worrying about hiding their curtain hanging cat or their talkative lab. Narrowing down your big-picture homeownership goals will point you in the right direction. Here are five questions to ask yourself:

1. What type of home best suits your needs?
You have several options when purchasing a residential property: a traditional single-family home, a townhouse, or a condo. Each option has its pros and cons, depending on your goals. You can also save on the purchase price in any category by choosing a fixer-upper.

2. What specific features will your ideal home have?
While it’s good to retain some flexibility in this list, you’re making perhaps the biggest purchase of your life, and you deserve to have that purchase fit both your needs and wants as closely as possible.

3. How much mortgage do you qualify for?
Before you start shopping, it’s important to get an idea of how much a lender will give you to purchase your first home.

4. How much home can you afford?
You’ve done an A+ job on building up your credit and now a bank will give you a loan for more house than you really want to pay for. Just like with the purchase of a new car, you’ll want to look at the house’s total cost, not just the monthly payment.

5. Who will help you find a home and guide you through the purchase?
Everdawn will help you locate homes that meet your needs and are in your price range, then meet with you to view those homes. Once you’ve chosen a home to buy, she will assist you in negotiating the entire purchase process, including making an offer, getting a loan, and completing paperwork. Everdawn’s expertise can protect you from any pitfalls you might encounter during the process.

The Buying Process

Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge, let’s look at what you can expect from the home buying process itself. This is a chaotic time with offers and counter-offers flying furiously, but if you are prepared for the hassle (and the paperwork), you can get through the process with your sanity more-or-less intact. Here is what you can expect:
1. Find a home.

2. Consider your financing options and secure financing.
First-time homebuyers have a wide variety of options to help them get into a home, including federally-backed loans and loans for homebuyers who don’t have the standard 20% minimum down payment. Your state may also have its own programs for first-time homebuyers.

3. Make an offer.
Everdawn will help you decide how much money you want to offer for the house along with any conditions you want to ask for, like having the buyer pay for your closing costs. When you reach an agreement, you’ll make a good-faith deposit and the process then transitions into escrow.

4. Obtain a home inspection.
Even if the home you plan to purchase appears to be flawless, there’s no substitute for having a trained professional inspect the property for the quality, safety and overall condition of your potential new home.

5. Close or move on.
If you’re able to work out a deal with the seller, or better yet, if the inspection didn’t reveal any significant problems, you should be ready to close. Closing basically involves signing a ton of paperwork in a very short time period, while praying that nothing falls through at the last minute.

Congratulations New Homeowner … Now What?

You’ve signed the papers, paid the movers or invited your friends over for pizza and beer and the new place is starting to feel like home. Game over right? Not quite. Let’s now examine some final tips to make life as a new homeowner more fun and secure.

1. Keep saving.
With homeownership come unexpected expenses, like replacing the roof or getting a new water heater. Start an emergency fund for your home so that you won’t be caught off-guard when these costs inevitably arise.

2. Perform regular maintenance.
With the large amount of money you’re putting into your home, you’ll want to make sure to take excellent care of it. Regular maintenance can decrease your repair costs by allowing problems to be fixed when they are small and manageable.

3. Ignore the housing market.
It doesn’t matter what your home is worth at any given moment except the moment when you sell it. Being able to choose when you sell your home, rather than being forced to sell it due to job relocation or financial distress, will be the biggest determinant of whether you will see a solid profit from your investment.

4. Don’t rely on making a killing on your home to fund your retirement.
Even though you own a home, you should still continue to save the maximum in your retirement savings accounts each and every year. Although it may seem hard to believe for anyone who has observed the fortunes some people made during the housing bubble, you won’t necessarily make a killing when you sell your house.

Ready to buy your first home? Visit our Bozeman Real Estate Listings page to get started, or Contact Everdawn Charles today for any other inquiries regarding buying or selling your home.