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first-time home buyer

5 pieces of advice for first-time home buyers

First-time home buyers, listen up! If you’re about to enter the housing market, it’s important to make sure you know where to start. Buying your first home can be intimidating and confusing, which is why it’s essential to keep in mind some key tips. If you’re feeling uncertain about where to begin, we have some pieces of advice to help guide you. Here’s what you need to do once you decide you’re ready to take the plunge into homeownership!

#1 Get a mortgage pre-approval

First-time home buyers with a pre-approval will have a much easier market experience than those without. While it might feel like just another extra task at the time, you will realize how much time and stress it will save you. We talk about pre-approvals a lot, but if you’re new to the market or new to our blog, you might not be familiar with them yet. We have this blog you can review that goes into detail on the benefits of a pre-approval, but in the meantime we’ll give you a quick overview.

Pre-approvals are a way for you to get your foot in the door by familiarizing yourself with the market and different lenders. This process involves a lender reviewing your finances, and giving you an estimate of what your purchasing power might be if you can maintain your current situation. This means you should do your best to either maintain or improve your finances once you secure your pre-approval to help avoid any unpleasant surprises come approval time. Factors that influence your pre-approval and approval are your credit score, payment history, income, and employment. Based on these areas of your life, a lender can estimate what you may afford in the housing market. The pre-approval process helps you understand what you can afford and what you need to improve, and it introduces you to potential lenders. 

#2 Select the right real estate agent

Buying a home without a real estate agent is not something we recommend to anyone, especially first-time home buyers. You might think you can save money on realtor fees by buying on your own, but you will almost certainly end up losing money throughout the process. Real estate agents are professionals in the housing market and know about everything from housing prices to exploring the right areas, making the best offer, and reviewing buying contracts. They have experience in the market that will help you find the right home without blowing up your budget or stressing over buying terms. 

The right real estate agent will be familiar with your buying situation and the area where you’re hoping to purchase. It’s best to work with a realtor who closely understands your needs and can support you as a new buyer. You can read some extra tips on finding the right agent here.

#3 Set realistic expectations

When you enter the market for the first time, you might not know what to expect. It’s easy to build up a vision in your mind of what your ideal first home will be and what it will look like. It’s also easy to underestimate how much it will cost. This can often lead to disappointment when you start house hunting and looking for a home that matches your needs, and you come up short. It’s important to understand that your first home likely will not be your last, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should meet your essential needs, but most importantly, you can use it to build equity in the market and support your future moves. 

With that in mind, it’s essential to set realistic buying expectations for your first property. Think hard about what your home needs to have and what your budget is. Your real estate agent can help you make these decisions. From there, you should only look at homes that meet your requirements and are within your budget. This will keep you focused and will help you find the right property quicker. 

#4 Take your time

We are no longer experiencing the same kind of frantic market we found ourselves in a few years ago. This means as a first-time home buyer, you do not need to rush to secure a home before they are all scooped up or before prices skyrocket even further. The spring is a more active time of year in the market, but housing prices and demand aren’t as intense as in the past, and supply is a bit more present for buyers. You should take your time considering your needs and wants before you commit to a house. Do not feel pressured to purchase a property if you have any doubts about it, and don’t race to get in and out of the market in record time. The market has slowed down, so you can take things as slow as you need. It’s better to buy the right home further into the future than purchase the wrong home today.

#5 Use a mortgage broker

Finally, let us tell you why mortgage brokers like us are a big part of your buying experience! You might think we’re just one more obstacle and one more person to work with, but we are professionals who are fully on your side. This means we’re committed to helping you find the right mortgage product and rate that meets your needs and falls within your budget. Securing your mortgage is one of the more complex parts of buying a home, but we can take that anxiety away. When you work with a broker, you have access to a professional who is dedicated to guiding you through the market and connecting you with the right mortgage lender. Our goal is to ensure you end up with the best product and stay in the best financial shape possible. Having a broker on your side is a practical and comforting decision that will help you alleviate the stress of buying.

Being a first-time home buyer can feel intimidating, but there are so many ways you can help yourself make the most of the experience. Getting in touch with professionals, setting realistic goals, and maintaining your finances are key parts of purchasing a house. And remember, you can always reach out to us to help you get started on the right path!

If you have any questions about your mortgage, get in touch with us at Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team! You can call us at (902) 482-2770 or contact us here.