Nikki Carter's Blog
Many people view purchasing property as a long-term goal, some see it as a rite of passage. Either way, buying a home for the first time can be an incredibly stressful experience. Those who are going through this process for the first time might be worried about making mistakes that may leave them with the wrong house or a high-interest rate. There are a few common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make that everyone should know.
Not Applying for a Mortgage First
You may want to get out there and find the home of your dreams right away but it is important to apply for a mortgage first. First, it shows any potential seller that the person they are working with is serious about buying a home. This is key because it will convince the seller to negotiate in good faith. Furthermore, when you apply for a mortgage, the lender will provide a maximum loan amount. This gives the borrower a budget with which to work.
Talking to Only One Lender
Be sure to speak with more than one mortgage lender. One lender might offer a certain interest rate to the borrower, another lender might be willing to offer a lower interest rate on the same loan. Other lenders might be willing to wave origination fees or points. Having multiple offers increases your leverage during the negotiation process.
Buying a Home that is Too Big
Be sure to focus on more than just the price tag. While this is a key expense, it is not the only one. Potential homeowners should also consider home insurance, real estate taxes and home maintenance costs. These additional costs may result in the purchase of a home that is too large for their budget. Be sure to take every cost into account when looking for a home to avoid financial stress.
If you are looking to buy a home, consult with a real estate professional to help you secure the right deal on the home of your dreams.
There are many factors to consider when buying a home. As a first-time home buyer, you may know some specific features you’re looking for in your new home, but the rest of your preferences might not be in focus yet. In addition to the bedroom, garage, kitchen and yard requirements you’ll be starting to consider the style of home you want to purchase.
When it comes to architecture styles, there are many options from home designs based on classic architecture styles to those with mixed design or new innovative designs. So, how do you figure out your personal architecture preferences? Before you begin your search, you can look online and in architecture and home catalogs to see if any particular style strikes your fancy. Then, in preparation to work with an agent to narrow down your search try visiting homes with different architectural styles to see what you think in person.
While you’re just exploring styles, you don’t need to limit yourself by budget and individual requirements. It might be wise to avoid looking at mansions if you’re a first-time home buyer looking for a starter property, but you can keep it loose with the requirements to get a feel for your preferences. Just take a look at available homes in your area that have upcoming open houses and take a look at the underlying architecture.
So, what are the basic architectural styles you can explore?
Colonial — Quite popular in the northeast colonial style homes use symmetry in their design. Lots of windows flanked by largely structured shutters and white or light-colored siding and red brick.
Mid-Century Modern — For a more open and simplistic design check out mid-century modern architecture. This style features flat lines, wide, single-story design and big glass windows.
Craftsman/Bungalow — These homes have square layouts, large front porches with straight or angular columns with a wide base. Big shutters frame sizable windows and interiors feature lots of built-in shelving and molding.
Ranch Style — Originally designed based on rural ranches in the US ranch style homes use single-story and split-level, open floorplans and focus on usability. These homes have easy access to outdoors from many areas of the house and will typically have a garage.
Cape Cod Style — Marked by steep roofs, dormer windows and typically cedar shingles. This style is a North American take on the classic British cottage with more massive fireplaces and chimneys and has white trimmed interiors with crown molding.
Art Deco / Art Nouveau — A modern style in the 1930s these structures will have flat roofs, are built with rounded corners and balconies and display decorative features on the home’s exterior.
Contemporary — Referring only to the current architecture of the day. Today this means a sleek appearance both on the interior and exterior: large windows and outdoor garden space and a connection between inside and outside. You’ll see a lot of natural materials and neutral tones used in these homes.
Mediterranean — You’ll find the Mediterranean style used in small bungalows and large mansion homes. Marked by tiled terracotta roofs, exterior elements like balconies, porticos, and archways this design models the hacienda style.
Tudor — A typical home style, the Tudor style comes from England and uses multi-gabled roofs with a steep pitch. You will find lots of brick and wood ornaments in these homes along with built-in features in the interior.
These are just a few of the home architecture styles you’re likely to see during your home search. Take a look around at the prevailing styles in your area, mark different styles and features you like and review these along with your other home requirements with a trusted real estate agent. Now you’re ready to dig into your search and find the perfect home.
For first-time homebuyers, going from property buyer to property owner may seem virtually impossible. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of buying a home.
Now, let's take a look at three questions that every first-time homebuyer needs to consider:
1. What is my "dream" residence?
One first-time homebuyer's definition of a "dream" residence may differ from another's. As such, you should consider what you'd like to find in a dream house before you begin your real estate search.
Creating a checklist of "must-haves" and "wants" in your house often serves as a great starting point for first-time homebuyers. This checklist will enable homebuyers to consider what they'd like to find in a dream home and plan accordingly.
Also, it is important to establish realistic expectations before you kick off a home search.
Many terrific houses are available in cities and towns nationwide, but no home is likely to have every feature that you desire in a dream residence.
Therefore, if you establish realistic expectations for your home search, you can avoid potential let-downs as you explore a broad array of high-quality houses.
2. How will I pay for a home?
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is vital for a first-time homebuyer, and for good reason. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know what you can afford to spend on a home before you enter the real estate market.
Many banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you to discuss your mortgage options. These lenders can outline the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, help you assess your credit score and ensure you can make an informed mortgage decision.
Furthermore, lenders can answer any mortgage questions that you may have. They can help you evaluate your current financial situation and enable you to obtain a mortgage that won't force you to revamp your day-to-day budget.
3. How do I begin searching for a house?
Beginning a home search is easy, particularly for first-time homebuyers who work with expert real estate agents.
An expert real estate agent understands what it takes to find a wonderful house at a budget-friendly price. In fact, he or she will do everything possible to help you navigate the housing market quickly and effortlessly.
Typically, an expert real estate agent will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings and submit home offers on your behalf. This housing market professional also will offer honest, unbiased recommendations throughout the homebuying journey to help you select a house that matches or exceeds your expectations.
When it comes to exploring the housing market, there is no need to work alone. Fortunately, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can help you get the best results possible during the homebuying journey.
Want to acquire your first home? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can move one step closer to owning a top-notch house.
Are you thinking about buying your first home but completely overwhelmed with where to even begin?
Buying your first home is a big, and exciting, decision. It’s also one that comes with a big learning curve you need to get down quickly.
There are many steps to the process and even though your agent is always here to help you and give advice it’s critical you do your own research. You want to be able to take action quickly when you find your dream home. To do this you will need to be able to keep up with the process by having everything done neatly, orderly and on time.
So where to start?
Start by sitting down with your budget. What do your current finances look like? What sort of wiggle room for spending do you have? What can you afford for a monthly mortgage payment?
And perhaps more importantly, do you have enough saved to cover a down payment and closing costs? Depending on which programs you qualify for you don’t necessarily have to put the traditional 20% down. With that said, you should know how much you would need to put down and if you have money in the bank to cover those costs.
Smooth out any credit snags. Your credit score doesn’t need to be out of this world, but it should reflect that you are actively improving and financially responsible.
Find a mortgage professional you trust to help you make the right moves throughout the process. Again, you want to be able to take action quickly once you find a home you love. And you don’t want to miss out because your mortgage professional hasn’t prioritized you.
You will also want to have a preapproval prepared, with the help of your mortgage professional, when you are ready to start looking at houses. Having a pre-approval in hand shows your agent that you are serious about this process.
Calculate the costs. Yes, more math! You will want to take into consideration real estate taxes, HOA fees, home repairs and maintenance as you refine your budget to see which homes make the most sense for your lifestyle.
When looking at homes focus on the “bones” of the house. Look past paint, hideous wallpaper and yes even the granite countertops. Are there enough bedrooms? Bathrooms? A laundry room? Is there enough garage space and driveway? Do you like the floor plan? The neighborhood?
Know what’s important to you. In an ideal world, you will find a home that ticks off every item on your wishlist. And not to say that it’s entirely impossible, but know which items on your list are negotiable. Which are you willing to budge on and which are make or break?