Looking for your first house is an exciting time. Whether you’re moving from your parent’s place, going from an apartment into a home, or you’re newlyweds looking at your first property together as a couple, home-buying is thrilling.
If you’re not prepared though, looking at homes can be overwhelming, disappointing, and discouraging. There are steps to take before you look, during the process of viewing homes, and while you put in your offer. All of these steps help to ensure that your home-buying experience goes as smoothly as possible.
To help you out, here are five steps to take when you’re buying your first home.
Determine What Mortgage You Can Afford
Before you begin to look at houses, you should see what you can afford. There is no sense in looking at places where the mortgage would put you in debt every month. Instead, by understanding what your top price range is, it will help narrow down your search to something within your price range.
You can start by using a mortgage calculator to see what your monthly mortgage would be. Try to find a calculator that is specific for your location. For example, if you live in Texas, you want to use a mortgage calculator Texas to factor in anything that is specific to your area.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Another step to take before looking at properties is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will also help you determine what you can and cannot afford, and give you a price range to work with.
Research Your Preferred Area
Once you have an idea of what you can work with, start doing some research on the areas you want to live in. The more you find, the better prepared you’ll be when it’s time to start looking.
Make a note of what you like and don’t like about a property. See what the price differences are and what makes the price go higher on certain properties.
Now is the fun part – it’s time to start physically looking at homes. You can either do this all yourself or hire a real estate agent to help you out.
When you start looking at homes, especially when you find something you like, give it a thorough tour. You should make a note of any damages to the property, if all of the electrical and plumbing are in good condition, and if the foundation requires any fixes. These are all points that could influence the price of the property, and determine if you’ll need to spend more on fixing it.
Make an Offer
If you found the perfect home, you’ll want to get in an offer right away. Depending on how the market is, some properties don’t stay on the market too long.
Typically, an offer is in contingent of a home inspection. The home inspection is a crucial step that you do not want to miss. A home inspector checks for everything that you cannot see and that could compromise the integrity of the home. If the inspector finds something, it could allow you to renegotiate a different price with the damages in mind, or to back out of the deal altogether.