Buying your first home can be daunting. It’s a huge financial commitment which requires a lot of research and intimate market knowledge. From getting your loan pre-approved to understanding the MLS, there is a lot to navigate. McCleary Group has been involved in residential real estate for nearly 2 decades and can help first-timers through the process.
Below are 5 important tips first time home buyers should consider. McCleary Group also recommends this Chicago Tribune real estate article which has several additional suggestions when looking to buy your first property.
Hire a Real Estate Agent
Though the internet has made it easy to scan homes for sale, hiring a real estate agent is critical when you are a first time home buyer. She or he will know the true market value for a home and be able to negotiate when it comes time to write a contract. Plus, real estate agents often get leads on pocket-listings. These can come from colleagues with clients about to sell a home, but is not yet on the market, and thus not yet online.
We recommend getting pre-approved for a home loan before you start looking. This way you will have a realistic budget to work with and won’t waste time touring homes which are financially out of reach.
Make a List
Create a list of your must-haves and deal breakers. Consider how long you anticipate living in this home. Do you need garage parking and central air? Could you live without laundry in your place? Be honest as you ask yourself critical home buying questions.
Manage Your Expectations
As you make your list it is best to let this sink in early: No one gets 100% of their must-haves. Even with a large budget, home buying is always a compromise. If location is key, you may have to settle on a smaller property. If you are working within a specific budget (and who isn’t) you may have to remodel. Be realistic now so you can make the most out of your hunt for a new home.
While managing expectations is important, be mindful on the resale value of the home you are buying. You don’t want to settle too much. Is the home’s layout is giving you pause? When will the roof need to be replaced? If the property has been on the market a while, there may be a reason. Real estate agents are a great resource when it comes to resale. They will be able to help you weigh the pros and cons of your first purchase.