Patrick McCarran

10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

The market has slowed in most areas but the economy is strong and interest rates are still very low. This makes it a great time to jump in of you have been on the fence or unsure. Here are some tips that will help you form an action plan to move forward and capture a piece of the American Dream.
1. Get your finances in order. You can use online estimators but remember they are just estimates. The same goes with free consumer credit scores, a lender will have a different score that is specific to the risk of a home loan. Meet with a lender to get an accurate picture of your qualification or a plan to get you ready.
2. Set a plan to be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and your closing costs. Talk to your lender and agent about your options, there are multiple programs to help or a seller credit.
3. Do your homework before you start looking. Decide specifically what features you want in a home and decide which are most important to you. Drive through the areas and neighborhoods you are interested in.
4. Be selective, but don’t be unrealistic. There is no perfect home and many items can be adjusted to fit your style or needs. There are solutions to every problem, some easy fixes others may not be.
5. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion. Remember that it’s easy for others to be an “armchair quarterback”.
6. Decide when you could move. When is your lease up? How tight is the rental market in your area? Remember the home finding process can take months to find a home get an accepted offer and close.
7. Think long-term. Are you looking for a starter house with the idea of moving up in a few years or do you hope to stay in this home longer? This decision will dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as type of mortgage terms that suit you and your goals best.
8. Don’t let yourself be “house poor”. If you max yourself out to buy the biggest home you can afford, you’ll have no money left for maintenance or decoration or to save money for other financial goals.
9. Don’t be naïve. Insist on any inspections you feel necessary. I recommend at minimum a home inspection and a termite inspection. Get a home warranty that will help cover repairs in the first year. The seller may pay for this or if need be you should buy it for yourself.
10. Get help. Find an agent of your own or a buyer’s agent. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is often to the seller, a buyer’s agent is working only for you and gets paid out of the seller’s side of the commission fee.

Patrick McCarran is a local Realtor and Broker. Call/text 925-899-5536 • • Independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. In association with Realty One Group Elite DRE#0193160. Equal Housing Opportunity.