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5 important tips for first-time home buyers in 2024

Attention, all first-time home buyers! If you have decided to purchase a property in 2024, you are likely already planning your first moves. You’re probably thinking about where you want to live, what kind of house you want, and how new or old your home should be. These are all important points to consider, but there’s a lot of work to do before you even set foot in potential homes. After all, your purchasing journey begins long before you schedule your first tour! Here are some key things to do before you get too far into the process. 

#1 Decide which season to act 

If you are a first-time home buyer, you may think the housing market is the same year-round. Why should the time of year impact people’s decision to buy and sell? However, the seasons can play a big role in housing market trends. Springtime tends to be quite busy, as people are returning from winter hibernation and are more willing to tour homes and be outside. The season of new beginnings really does extend to the housing market. On the other hand, winter is often slow and we see fewer buyers and sellers. Summer and autumn fall somewhere in between, with their own periods of high and low activity. 

If you enter the market at a busy time, you will likely see more homes up for sale, but also more buyers to compete against, and therefore higher prices. Winter has the opposite trend, with lower prices, but fewer properties to explore. You should decide what pace you are comfortable with, as well as how willing you are to accept seasonal price inflation. It all comes down to preference, patience, and budget. 

# 2 Treat a pre-approval as mandatory 

Officially, home buyers do not need a pre-approval to purchase a property. However, for a successful housing market and mortgage experience, it’s important to secure this item. Your pre-approval will tell you, and potential lenders, what you may qualify for in mortgage financing. This allows you to understand your current market position, and how you can improve it before applying for your mortgage. You can gain an idea of your ideal budget, and how much your mortgage could cost you. All of this will help ensure you secure a home and mortgage you can afford, which are crucial to a successful homeownership experience. Make it a priority to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start searching the market.

# 3 Always get a home inspection 

This tip comes into play once you have found the home you would like to purchase. A home inspection is important to make sure the property has no safety or maintenance problems that pose a significant risk. For example, issues with plumbing, electrical wiring, or the foundation should all be revealed and addressed before you take ownership of the home. If you find these problems before the sale closes, you can negotiate with the seller on how to pay for necessary repairs. You can also include a clause in your offer that the purchase is conditional upon the home passing its inspection, which gives you an out in case any major problems pop up. Home inspections provide you with peace of mind and can save you huge amounts of money. 

# 4 Budget for unexpected costs 

Your buying budget should always account for unexpected costs. Of course, you can’t predict what these costs will be with complete accuracy, but it’s helpful to have some extra funds set aside for when sudden expenses inevitably occur. This could include items during the purchasing process, and after you take possession of your home. Closing costs tend to be those that home buyers underestimate, such as legal fees, title transfer, and moving costs. A common recommendation is to aim to have the equivalent of 1.5 per cent of your home’s purchase price available to use for these expenses. This will help you feel more prepared and secure in your finances as you navigate your purchase.

# 5 Start your journey with a broker 

As always, we recommend that you begin your experience by getting in touch with a mortgage broker! We are here to guide you with your pre-approval, budgeting, mortgage products, and finding the right lender. Home buyers always benefit from working with a broker. Having a broker on your team will make your experience much smoother and less complicated. 

Your journey as a new home buyer has already begun, even if you haven’t started looking at properties yet. There is a lot of work to do behind the scenes, and having a mortgage broker on your team can help reduce your stress and workload! Reach out to us to start moving through the housing market with efficiency and confidence. 

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.