7 Tips for Buying Your First Home

September 16, 2017Diana Lengerson

Are you ready to start a business or raise a family in a real house? Or maybe you’re a singleton just looking for more space. Whatever your reasons for leaving apartment life behind, here are seven tips for turning your real estate dreams into reality.
1. Check Your Credit

Unless grandma left you a windfall, you’re probably going to need a loan to afford your first home. Do yourself a favor and check your credit before you start considering different lenders and calculating various interest rates. You might be surprised to find an old debt dragging down your score, and you’ll need to take care of it before you’ll qualify for a good loan.
2. Pick Your Neighborhood

Find a dream neighborhood instead of a dream home. Not only will this afford you more flexibility in your choices, but it will also give you a better idea of the prices that you’ll see when it’s time to browse real estate listings. You can also take this opportunity to scope out the parks, schools, banks and other amenities that are located around your desired street.
3. Figure Out Your Down Payment

The industry average is 20 percent, but you can find some lenders willing to drop that figure down to 3-5 percent. However, don’t think that a lower down payment is automatically better for your finances. It might come with strings that will affect you down the line. Take the time to crunch your five-year numbers when you’re considering your future down payment.
4. Make a Wish List

Maybe you’ve always wanted a pool in the backyard. Maybe you’ve had dreams of relaxing on a bearskin rug in front of an old-fashioned fireplace. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to your personal wish list for home design elements, so go nuts. Just make sure that you’ve marked the difference between “needs” and “wants.” If you can live without it, it’s not a necessity in your new home.
5. Save Money for Your Move-In

Most people need a few extra dollars even after they’re done with mortgages and closing costs. Whether it’s updated kitchen appliances or a fresh paint job in the second bedroom, you’ll probably want to make some changes after you move into your new home, so budget for them accordingly. Give yourself some wiggle room in your financial plan.
6. Consider Alternative Financing Options

Are you pressed for cash but still desperate to get out of your studio apartment? You might not be out of luck. Organizations like Fundrise can help you make down payments today on properties that you’ll own several years from now, so don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to financing your dream home. Fundrise reviews can tell you more.
7. Find the Right Realtor

Last but certainly not least, be choosy about your real estate agent. You’ll want someone who takes the time to actually communicate with you. If they ignore your calls or take forever to respond to your emails, dump them and hire someone who cares about your business more.
These are just a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to purchase your first home. Whether you’re eyeballing a mansion in the hills or a modest two-bedroom in the suburbs, let these suggestions guide you towards a smart purchase decision.

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