Like many other Millennials, my Husband and I are currently in the process of buying a home for the very first time. In the process, we have acquired some really great tips for other first-time home buyers. From using a mortgage calculator to saving for a down payment, I will cover a few of my best tips for those ready to make that big move.
Please note: I am not a finance professional. This post is only outlining a few tips I have been following and found success with throughout my journey. Please use your best judgment and consult with a professional if you have additional questions.
Start Saving ASAP
Once you have made the decision to move forward with the process of buying a home, start saving IMMEDIATELY – any amount that you can reasonably put aside.
This is the time to cut out those unnecessary expenses and look at areas of your finances where you can save more. Perhaps it’s time to eliminate cable or cut back on a few streaming services. Maybe you need to eat more meals at home. Whatever the case may be, make sure you are putting money aside for that new home you are preparing for.
The sooner you start saving, the better.
I also recommend using an affordability calculator to determine whether or not you should rent or buy a home at this point in time. An effective affordability tool will allow you to put in your monthly rental payment and add a cushion for estimated fees associated with homeownership to calculate how much of a home you’d be able to afford with your current monthly budget. You may even decide at this point to just continue renting until you’re in a better position financially which is totally okay.
Clean Up Your Credit
Before you set out to buy a house, check your credit score
Pull your credit reports, pay attention to that FICO score, and be prepared to get to work. You may notice information that is incorrect. You may even discover that there are things on there that simply need to be cleaned up.
You can check out my free guide to learn more about the different ways to improve your credit score. I am also part of a super helpful financial wellness community to give me much-needed tips and support throughout my personal credit repair journey.
Set up a Home Shopping Budget
Before you even start the home hunt, I highly recommend calculating how much you can realistically afford.
You don’t want to put yourself in a stressful position financially because you committed to a home that is more than what you can afford. Trust me, it isn’t worth the extra stress.
Crunch some numbers and search for homes that fall within a price range you can handle. Make sure you take into account any additional bills you may have, money you may need for repairs, etc.
Learn More About Different Types of Mortgages
Read up on the different types of mortgages to give you a better idea of what you should be looking for. This will be very helpful as you begin to seek out financing.
Understanding the different mortgage options available to you will help you decide which one is the best fit for your unique needs.
Research First Time Home Buyer Assistance Programs
Spend some time researching First Time Home Buyer Grants and Programs. You may be surprised at the number of programs available to those with low credit scores or a very small amount saved for a down payment.
So please, do not skip this step. Every bit of assistance you can get with purchasing your first home is a huge help.
Be Picky When Selecting a Real Estate Agent
Let me get straight to the point- FIND A GOOD REAL ESTATE AGENT, and if you get with one real estate agent and decide that they’re not effective, get rid of them. Seriously.
We had to dump our first real estate agent because she was simply not a fighter. You want an agent that not only helps you find a home that best serves your needs but is also great at negotiating and getting you what you want.
BE PICKY when choosing a real estate agent to work with! And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Buying a home for the first time certainly requires a lot of patience. I know we all want to hurry up and get to the good stuff, but it’s important to remain positive throughout every phase of the process.
Be prepared for a few No’s, a ton of changes, hard work, and extra stress. But do not let that deter you from moving forward on your dream. How long it takes to buy a house varies so don’t focus so much on how quickly (or slowly) the process went for others. Every situation is different.
Just keep your eyes on the prize, and remember the reason why you started this process to begin with.