The following post comes from Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Inc. agent, Kim Knapp. Kim is an experienced agent in Northern Florida and has a great team who has worked with countless first-time home buyers. What is interesting for me - is that even though the price points, market, product and geography of the Buyers are different to our – their needs and process is the same.
Here are her 8 tips to help make finding that first home go as smoothly as possible:
- Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing. “Our local Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty REALTOR® can help you determine what areas will present you with the amenities you would like to fit your life style choices”
- Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
- Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender or Mortgage Broker (Brenda Dilley firstname.lastname@example.org) and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford. A good Realtor can help you go over the expected closing costs, whether or not you qualify for an exemption from the Property Transfer Tax and how the statement of adjustment from the lawyer at completion will reflect those costs to you.
- Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own. You will be the one that will be ultimately living in the home and paying the mortgage payment.
- Decide your moving timeline.When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move. “School start dates, right down to the available of friends or family that may help with the physical move.”
- Think long term.Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.
- Insist on a home inspection.If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year. “In some markets that is uncommon but certainly obtaining a professional home inspection from a QUALIFIED inspector is most important – we have contact info and credentials from several in our Kelowna area”
- Get help from a REALTOR®.Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. “You can secure your agency contract with them by completing and Exclusive Buyers Agency agreement. Our Realtors will explain clearly what their fiduciary duties are to you as their client, how they are compensated through the transaction and any other details you need clarity on.
REALTORS® are a huge wealth of knowledge and can help you through every step of this exciting – but sometimes scary process.