Secrets to Winning Your Dream Home for First-Time Home Buyers
Buying your first dream home can be intimidating at times, but it should first and foremost be exciting and fun!
Some buyers jump into the process unprepared and end up with a home they don’t love, only to look forward to the next home they can buy. No matter what you’ve seen around you, we’re here to tell you it’s possible to get your dream home as a first-time buyer — you just have to be prepared.
Whether your dream home includes a large backyard, a great school or an open kitchen, we have some tips to help you find it and make it yours!
1. Know your budget (and stick to it!)
Before you begin looking at homes, sit down with your family, spouse, mortgage lender or even your friends who have bought a house recently. Make a list of expenses to expect with a new home and welcome advice from others. When it comes time to decide on your budget for a home, be realistic. Only look within your budget — don’t expect to negotiate too much, or your heart may be broken when you realize you can’t afford a home. Stick to or stay under your budget for the best thing you can do for your bank account; it may even help you free up some money to enhance your home later!
2. Start early
By “early,” we mean right now! Even if you think you might start looking for a home later this year, get started now. It’s never too early to begin asking questions, get approved and decide on what you want in your dream home. There’s nothing sweeter to a seller than a pre-approval; it will show sellers you mean business and will give you peace of mind as you begin this process. Find the right mortgage broker who can help you prepare and begin filling out paperwork before you even look at houses.
3. Tackle your debt mountain
There’s nothing worse than realizing you just can’t afford your dream house. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Be prepared by managing your debt early. You don’t have to have all of your debt completely paid off before entering the home buying process, but get it to a manageable level before you try to add a mortgage on top of it. Your dream home may not have the most dreamy mortgage rate, so be prepared!
4. Know what you want (but be flexible)
Make a list of the things that you absolutely want (or even need) in your dream home, as well as a list of the things you don’t want. Buying a home with your family or spouse? Make sure they have a list as well! This may take some compromising, but it’s better to do this now, before adding a potential home to the mix. Decide what things you know you won’t budge on, but remember that the fewer items on your “need” list, the more likely you are to find a home that matches your desires.
Be reasonable and proactive! If location is your thing, begin scoping out neighborhoods and talking to neighbors to see what the area is like. If it’s specific features in the home that you want, decide now which things you would be willing to add to your home later. Pro tip: remember that you can often make your home a dream home with a couple home improvement projects.
5. Find a realtor you can trust to find your dream home
We want you to feel like you can trust your realtor because we know this can make or break your home buying experience. You want a realtor that understands your desires, one who can help you find your dream home and one who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth about a home. It’s easy to get caught up in the looks of a home, but a good realtor will tell you if it’s not a sound decision, even if it looks like your dream home on the outside! Find someone who will be your source of knowledge through the process and who you can rely on through the process.
Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to finding your dream home! Want the complete beginner’s guide to home buying? Click here.