First Time Home Buyers
We understand that buying your first home is an exciting and significant milestone in your life. It’s a journey filled with possibilities, emotions, and important decisions. Whether you’re feeling a mix of enthusiasm and uncertainty or seeking clarity on the home buying process, you’ve come to the right place.
Our goal is to provide you with valuable information, resources, and guidance to help make your first home buying experience as smooth and rewarding as possible. We believe that every first-time homebuyer deserves to feel confident and empowered throughout this journey. So, let’s dive in and explore the essential steps, tips, and insights that will help you navigate the path to homeownership with confidence.
Questions for First-Time Home Buyers
Are you ready to buy?
When you’re contemplating purchasing a home it’s critical to realize that part of your income and time will go toward home repairs and maintenance. Also, if you buy a house that needs cosmetic improvements you need to have realistic expectations of how long it will take to make those changes on your budget and decide if you’ll be comfortable enough there in the meantime. Homeownership is about being willing to take implicit risks with a realistic expectation of the rewards.
How much “home” can you afford?
It might be discouraging to find that your salary won’t stretch as far as the home you want to own. However, sacrificing a huge part of your income just to pay the mortgage can very quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a point of pride. It’s important to have both a trusted Realtor and Mortgage Professional on your side to thoroughly understand how much home you can afford and what options are available to you should you want to take the risk of extending further.
What is your debt-to-income ratio?
Debt-to-income ratio is something that lenders take very seriously. Your overall debt should not be more than 40% of your income, and your housing debt should not be more than 32%. You may also not want to purchase a home where you exhaust 32% of your income on your mortgage. Is travel important to you? Do you spend money on things that contribute to your lifestyle like entertainment, hobbies, and social outings? Take your overall budget into consideration when you’re examining how much home you can afford. I want you happy in your new home!
Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage?
Submitting an offer with a pre-approval has become customary. Is it a requirement? No. However, sellers take offers from pre-approved buyers seriously. There are tons of reasons why you should talk with a lender and get pre-approved before looking at homes. First and foremost, talking with a bank before looking at homes can help you understand exactly how much you can afford. There is no reason to look at homes that are listed for $350,000 if you can only afford up to $300,000.I can put you in touch with trusted mortgage professionals so you can apply for pre-approval. It’s a simple process that takes only a few minutes and requires the lender to check your credit. If you have a pre-approval at the ready you can move forward quickly when you find the home you want.
What do you want?
Do you like the idea of cleaning your own gutters? Do you shudder at the thought of lawn care? Would you rather just pay a fee every month and have everything done for you? Do you want to be where you can’t see or hear your nearest neighbors, or is it important that you can walk to pick up some take-out sushi and push your infant’s stroller through a park? The answers to these questions can help us find homes that will fit your lifestyle, and make your dreams a reality.
We Can Help
You need an amazing agent who will work hard for you. Our agents are dedicated to helping you find the home that’s right for you, at the best price. We want you to find the home that will make you happy and successful in real estate ownership.
Keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical sense. There’s one key question to ask yourself as you search for a home, “Will I be able to spend my time in this house the way I like to spend my time?” Does spending time in the car keep you from doing other things you love like taking a bike ride or playing with your kids? Then buying in a location where you can easily run your errands is important. While the type of countertop surface in your kitchen won’t change how you spend your time, whether or not you have a dishwasher in your kitchen certainly will. Keep a list handy of the features that you need and want in a home and its location, and judge each home by the list instead of by details that could distract you from your goal. Our agents are very familiar with the towns in the Capital District & Hudson Valley Regions so we can point out the local amenities you need, and their proximity to the homes you’re looking at. Our agents can help you stay on track and make educated decisions. A home is a huge investment; you don’t want to discover after living there for a few months that it doesn’t really fit your lifestyle.
Engage the services of a good real estate lawyer. Our agents can recommend several trusted lawyers who might be a good fit for you. We recommend interviewing them to ensure that you hire someone you want to work with. The legalities of transferring land ownership can be dodgy, and a lawyer can be your best defense against future legal troubles. A good lawyer can charge around a thousand dollars to thousands of dollars for their services, but the thousands of dollars saved in legal fees later make them a sound investment now.
Make the offer. This can be a maze of “buyer”, “seller”, “deposit”, and “contract date”. Our agents are happy to prepare the paperwork and go through it with you before submitting it to the seller. Then if there are any counteroffers you will have the opportunity to review them together with your agent and negotiate.
Get all necessary inspections done. Our agents will help you find a trusted home inspector who will check for signs of harmful materials like asbestos, lead paint, and mold. They’ll also check for evidence of pests, faulty wiring, leaks, and problems with the septic system. This is a critical part of the home purchase and I’ll be there with the inspector to help you understand their findings. If you forgo an inspection, you could be stuck in a home with faulty items that may not be present to the average eye and could cost thousands to remedy. A general home inspection will cost a few hundred dollars to upwards of a thousand dollars and is more than worth it in the end.
Navigate the paperwork. Once inspections are done and you’ve committed to buying the home, there’s a lot of paperwork to be done, particularly if you’re getting a mortgage. Our agents will help you to understand what needs to be turned in and when. Our agents will also be in communication with the seller’s agent to ensure that anything they need to do is completed. Our agents work hard to get you into your new home as soon as possible.
Do a final walkthrough just before closing the deal. You and your agent will walk through the home together to make sure that everything you’ve agreed upon is completed prior to the final signing.
From the first interview that determines your requirements to the moment that you receive the keys, we can help you with the complicated process of buying your first home. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more about how we can make the home-buying process easier!