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First Time Home Buying: 4 Essentials For Success

First home buying is on the rise - this year they make up 34% of homebuyers in the United States. They make up about 1.65 million of the homes that will be sold in 2019(est.). Whether you are a first time home buyer looking for a home, a Realtor advising a first time home buyer, or otherwise, here are my top four tips for planning to buy your first home.

  1. Select a mortgage advisor to help you calculate what you can afford to buy...
    A mortgage advisor will help you determine how much you can afford. This is the most important step in the process, and should take place before you even contact a Realtor.
    The decision to purchase a home is a big one - so don't rush. As soon as you're interested in buying a home, start the mortgage process. Working with a mortgage advisor can not only help you determine what you can afford, but can also be an integral part of helping you find the best rate possible.
    Mortgage advisors can also offer access to a myriad of loan products, save you time, save you money by identifying hidden costs, and deliver personalized service.
    Knowing where you want to live, how much you can afford and the type of home you would like to live in, will make the process for you and your Realtor all that much easier.

  2. Start saving for a down payment early...
    Saving for a down payment takes time, so it's best to start early. Don't be afraid to look ahead… once you have an idea of the price range of a home you can afford, you can then take the following steps to save quickly: 
    Download budgeting app "Mint" Open a savings account - online banks like Ally & Marcus have high interest rates. Go by the 10% rule - any paycheck that comes in - put 10% away in your savings account! You can also check out this down payment calculator for help when figuring out how much you'll need for your down payment. Of course, if you have already met with your mortgage advisor (see #1), you will already have a good idea of what you will need. Some other savings tips include: Setting aside your work bonuses, tax refunds to put toward your down payment.

  3. Know Your Budget and Factor in All Expenses...
    Expect the unexpected. When you're factoring in costs for buying a home, don't leave out "hidden expenses". You need to make sure to budget for the following items: Closing costs and prepaid expenses such as escrows for local real estate taxes and homeowner insurance. Home inspections, Title insurance and attorney fees. Government recording fees. Check out this calculator that can help a great deal when figuring out what you can afford based on your location.

  4. Narrow down, narrow down, narrow down...
    Choice is abundant! However, when it comes to home buying, the key is to narrow down your choices. In addition to price and budget, here are some of the factors to consider when narrowing down home buying choices: The neighborhood and surrounding areas Location requirements including commute, school district, access to major shopping areas, highways and local taxes Lot location and size - here you should be thinking about whether there is space for a backyard you can enjoy; is the lot large enough to expand upon at some future date. The age of the property - the older the property, although charming, may also come with additional costs for maintenance and upkeep. Your ideal home style - Colonial, Cape Cod, Ranch, Victorian, Contemporary, Condo, Townhouse or Multi-family. The right amount of space - will this be enough space for you to entertain, expand your family, have the family over for major holidays? Costs that make you comfortable - making sure you have accounted for local taxes, monthly utility costs, and association fees (where applicable). Often the seller or Realtor will be able to help you with this.

At the end of the day - buying your first home is not a race but a journey! Take the time to know what you can afford and where you want to live. Select a mortgage advisor and Realtor partner team that understands your needs and wants and can guide you during the process. The journey to home buying does not have to be a difficult one. With a little bit of preparation and a great team behind you it can be one of the best experiences you can have!

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