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Home Buying Process

Top Tips for the First-time Home Buyer

So, you’re finally ready to toss your rent checks to the wind and become a bonafide homeowner . . . Congratulations! But before you go signing the first mortgage offer that comes your way, there may be a few things you should consider.

Luckily, the dedicated professionals at Nations Lending are one step ahead of you! We’ve put together a list of helpful home buyer wisdoms, and we’re offering it to you here. Read on if you’re ready to take the next step toward purchasing your dream home starting today.

Getting Started

Prequalification – Our first recommendation to any first-time home buyer is to get prequalified through your lender. This allows you to accomplish a few things:

  1. It will help you determine the price range in which you can afford to search;
  2. It will allow you to see if you qualify for any special loan programs;
  3. It will give you a chance to hammer out your absolute must-haves.

Prequalification is essential for the first-timer who hasn’t had a chance to research government programs or learn to restrict themselves to purchasing limits. With the right price range in mind, you will also help arm your real estate agent with necessary information and allow him or her to guide you on what features you will be able to afford.

Choosing you agent – You are going to be spending a LOT of time with your realtor over the next few months, so you’ll want to do the research necessary to make sure it’s someone you’ll like! Ask friends and family for their recommendations and go online to assess reviews of local agents.

Taking the Next Step

Choosing your home – Yes, there are many things you’ll need to keep in mind while searching for your home, but aside from your own personal taste, there are two things you’ll definitely need to consider: location and resale value.

  • Location is the number one factor that affects purchasing decisions. That’s because, unless you’re buying a tiny home, it’s the one thing you won’t be able to change. Are schools important to you? Proximity to shopping centers and hospitals? Walking distance to a park? These are just a few of the qualities that make a location ideal for most buyers.
  • The next consideration is resale value. How are the big-ticket home repair items holding up? How much updating will you have to do before anyone else in their right minds will consider it? Remember: you’ll be the one footing the bill for those repairs or losing out on the equity down the road, so take your time and make sure you’ve made a decision that works well long term.

Staying ahead of the game – With the advent of home purchase apps and online realty sites came a much more competitive market and the opportunity for buyers to take matters into their own hands. This means that homes are getting snatched up faster than ever. Translation: you must act quickly if you don’t want to miss out on the house of your dreams.

Making an offer – This is an important time to remember that you hired a realtor for a reason—so use them. If you’ve followed our advice above, your real estate agent should be someone you trust, so follow his or her advice and let him or her do your negotiating for you so that you can keep emotion out of it. Your best bet is usually to go in with your best offer as though there is already a bidding war at hand: that way, you never have to fear that you might have missed out on the perfect home because you weren’t aggressive enough.

Closing the Deal

Covering your bases – Your offer was accepted . . . hurrah! Now, you need to make sure that the bones of your investment merit their price tag before you close. That means a home inspection. Yes, although not required by your lender and it is an extra cost to you, but it is going to pay off hugely in the long run. For the first-time home buyer, an inspection is especially crucial: not only will it point out any structural issues you will almost certainly miss on your own, but it will also give you a chance to ask plenty of questions and learn as much as you can about the longevity of certain home features and cost expectations down the road.

Closing – If everything has gone according to plan, you should be ready to close. This will be the time to discuss homeowners’ insurance and warranty options with your realtor. If new doors aren’t on the docket, you’ll also want to update your locks.

Buying a home can be an amazing experience—it’s a true life-changing moment! Armed with the right information, you can also make it an unexpectedly simple process and end up with a home you’ll love for years to come. If you’re ready to take the first step and begin your home buying journey, contact one of our representatives today to get started!