Tips for First Time Home Buyers
The home-buying process can seem complicated and overwhelming, especially to those purchasing a first home in a market where homes sell quickly and multiple offers are the norm. But there are a few simple steps that will help home buyers make smart decisions about this significant investment.
- Know your budget and be realistic about what you can afford. If a mortgage will be involved, it’s important to meet with a mortgage professional in advance to avoid deal-breaking delays. In most cases, a letter of preapproval is required to put a contract on a house, so it’s best to be prepared.
- Give lots of consideration to a home’s location. Buyers should determine in advance how close they want to live to work, schools or other extended family. Neighborhoods and homes can improve over time, but they can’t physically move to another location. At least not without a considerable amount of cost and stress.
- Work with a real estate agent who understands not just the local market, but the specific neighborhood or part of town where you want to buy, so they can help find comparable home prices.
- Research and determine what your features are most important to you, including which are must-haves and which are deal breakers. If a second-floor laundry room is a must-have and a first-floor laundry room is a deal breaker, that will definitely help your agent narrow your choices down.
Lastly, don’t get too distracted if certain decorations, paint or flooring don’t match your personal style. Consider the bones of a home – how large are the rooms, are they laid out in a pattern that fits your lifestyle, is the size right for your family. If everything else about a home meets your requirements, adding a coat of paint and redecorating are an easy way to put the finishing touches on your dream home.
About the writer: Kathleen Hunt is the Branch Vice President for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Leesburg office. She can be reached at 703-771-8888.