Buying your first home can seem like a daunting process. From mortgage rates to taxes to closing costs, there's certainly a lot to consider. Because your new home will likely be the biggest investment of your life, it's crucial that you learn about the process before you get started.
The more you know about the home buying process, the more likely you will be able to get the home of your dreams at a price you can afford. That's why we've put together these six tips for helping you achieve your goal of homeownership.
1) Know what you want.
When purchasing a residential property, you'll have several options to consider. These include traditional single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and more. Each type of property has its benefits and drawbacks, so before you move forward in the home buying process, make sure you pin down which property type will best suit your needs.
2) Know where you want to buy.
Just as properties have their pros and cons, so do neighborhoods. Before you start checking out homes, decide where you want to live and focus your efforts on that area. If you're not sure where to start, try conducting a general search to get a feel for what might interest you and narrow your criteria from there.
3) Do your research.
Get online and take a look at the selling prices of comparable properties for the area you're interested in. Sites like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com can help you get an idea of what you should expect to pay, but your real estate pro can also provide some insights and recommended resources.
4) Find out what you can afford.
Dealing with financing can be overwhelming at first, so make sure you're taking advantage of all the resources available to you. Get started by using an online mortgage calculator to see what your monthly mortgage payments would be if you bought a home today. Once you have an idea of what your budget will be, consult an agent for tips on how to take advantage of the current market and make the most of your budget.
5) Look at total monthly costs.
Mortgage payments are only part of the equation. Before you buy, you'll want to figure out what your total monthly housing cost will be, including homeowner's insurance and taxes. To get an idea of insurance costs, pick a property, call a local insurance agent, and ask for an estimate. You may also come across online home insurance quote estimator tools like this one from Liberty Mutual - these are great for rough estimates, but keep in mind that speaking directly with a local insurance agent or your real estate agent may yield a more precise estimation.
6) Figure out closing costs.
It's important not to overlook the upfront cost of settling on your home. Closing costs include lender origination fees, taxes, title and settlement fees, as well as prepaid items like homeowner association fees and insurance.
Ready to start searching for the home of your dreams? Reach out with your goals to get your home search set off on the right foot.