The Dos and Don’ts of First Time Home Buying

The Dos and Don’ts of First Time Home Buying

Getting your first home can be one of the most exciting experiences in life! With the proper preparation, you’ll be able to find and buy the perfect home without making any costly mistakes along the way. Here are some tips for first time home buyers.

Do your research

You’ll be in a much better position to make an informed decision if you educate yourself about all aspects of home buying. By understanding different loan programs, researching real estate trends in your area, and comparing prices in comparable neighborhoods, you’ll be able to get more for your money.

Another important tip is to choose a realtor with experience helping first-time buyers—they’ll know what red flags to look out for and have access to lender relationships that can make it easier to get a great deal on your mortgage. It also doesn’t hurt to reach out to friends or family who’ve recently bought homes; they can tell you about their experiences, as well as warn you about common pitfalls.

Do use open houses to find homes before they are listed

Oftentimes, buyers have a tight time window to find their dream home. That’s why open houses are so popular: they give buyers an opportunity to discover available homes before they are even listed.

And if you get in early enough at an open house, you can talk with the listing agent about making an offer before other prospective buyers even know it’s on the market. Talk with your real estate agent about getting a jumpstart on your home search by attending local open houses where properties are often offered well below market value.

Do get pre-approved with a mortgage lender

If you’re serious about buying a home, it makes sense to start with a lender. Even if you’re not quite ready to start your search for a home, you can still get pre-approved for a mortgage. A lender will evaluate your financial situation and determine how much they are willing to lend you given your assets, income, debts and down payment expectations.

Pre-approval means they won’t pull your credit again as long as things remain steady in your financial life. In addition to giving you peace of mind when it comes time to shop for homes, getting pre-approved also lets sellers know that they can trust that you’ll be able to come up with cash needed at closing time.

Do walk through homes with your realtor

Your realtor has experience with homes in your area. They can give you an idea of value in each home, as well as tell you what makes a good or bad deal. You may be nervous to visit potential homes—especially if it’s your first time buying.

But remember, there is no commitment here. Looking at houses for sale is a natural part of the home-buying process; it’s how you narrow down what you want to buy in a location that suits your needs. If a home doesn’t feel right once you see it, don’t feel like you have to make an offer on it—it just wasn’t meant to be!

Don’t get too attached

It can be tempting to fall in love with a house, but if you’re going to buy it, do your homework. Make sure that you can afford both a mortgage payment (including insurance) and repairs before signing on any dotted lines.

Look at several houses so that you don’t fall in love with just one; also, always assume that something will go wrong—that way, it won’t blindside you later on down the line.

Do ask friends and family for their opinion on local areas

We all love our hometown, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good place to buy a home. Remember that your network is usually going to be biased toward places they know well or have fond memories.

You can help offset some of that bias by asking around for advice from people you trust. Getting an outsider’s perspective will give you a much better idea about which areas are going to suit your lifestyle, as well as how expensive or affordable they are compared to other locations in San Diego County or across California. The best part?

Don’t forget to factor in the cost of utilities, property taxes, insurance, etc. into your budget.

San Diego is a beautiful place to live, but it’s also an expensive place to live. As a first time home buyer, you should definitely plan for increases in your budget so that you have enough money set aside to pay for homeownership expenses over time.

You don’t want to find yourself living paycheck-to-paycheck just because you forgot about how much utilities and property taxes were going to cost every month! Oceanside is an amazing area, but it’s even more amazing if you can afford it.

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