Buying a home for the first time is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. It’s a huge step in life, the beginning of it in many ways, whether you’re doing it as a newlywed, to start a family, or to buy a property that’s truly yours. If you go about it the right way, buying a new home can be one of the greatest things to ever happen to you. However, it can also be a highly stressful process. In addition to having to find a house within your price range, you also have to think about what kind of mortgage is right for you, and whether it’s a house you might sell in the future or where you see yourself living for a very long time. There are lots of choices to make and legal procedures to think about, and it can be exhausting to have to deal with all this when it’s your first time buying a home.
Joseph Pingaro, a real estate developer from Boston, has all the advice that you need. Take a look here to see what tips he has for new home buyers like you.
1. Have Extra Money Saved Up
Buying a house in itself is a huge investment, and many people save up tons of money to prepare for it. A mistake that many new home buyers often make, however, is that they don’t save money on top of that. The fact is, though, that on top of your mortgage, you might end up having to spend additional money once you’ve started making those payments because, according to Joseph Pingaro, a new house can have unexpected costs that you need to be prepared for. What if a pipe breaks or you need to buy a new washing machine because the one that came with the house messes up your laundry? You need to have a budget plan that includes not only your mortgage payments but also these unexpected costs.
In 2019, 36 percent of homeowners listed unexpected maintenance or repairs as their biggest regret when it came to residential real estate, so saving up is very important.
2. Take a Look at Different Mortgage Options
When you’re buying a new home, you have to think carefully about what kind of mortgage you want. The first thing you need to decide is how much of a downpayment you want to pay, which will cost you a lot now but will save you money down the line. Then you have to figure out if it’s better to pay a larger amount per month for a shorter one, or vice versa. If you’re moving in with a partner, sit down and look at your finances to decide. Then you’ll want to decide on the actual type of mortgage. These options are a conventional mortgage (requiring as little as 3 percent down), FHA loans (3.5 percent, insured by the Federal Housing Administration), and VA loans (guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs, and can have no downpayment). If you aren’t sure where to start, Joseph Pingaro recommends using a mortgage calculator to see what works best for you.
Considering that home prices went up 10 percent between 2017 and 2018, you definitely want to figure out what payment method is the right one.
3. Be Smart With Your Credit
A lot of new home buyers who don’t have great credit end up having to pay for it when they sit down to look at what houses they can afford only to find out that their lenders don’t trust them because of their credit history. So if you’re looking to buy a house now, but you aren’t in a great financial situation, it’s best to put aside the plans of buying the house and repairing your credit first. Pay off any outstanding debts you have and start developing healthy financial habits. Over time, you’ll see your credit improve, which will make it way easier for you to get the loan that you want for your mortgage.
In quarter four of 2018, America owed a total of $870 billion in credit card debt alone, so there’s no need to feel guilty if you’ve got bad credit. You aren’t alone, and it’s something you can fix.
4. Research the Market Before Looking With an Agent
An agent makes things easier for you, and you definitely want to have one. But just like with any important purchase, you need to do your own research beforehand. Take a look at prices in the neighborhoods you’re exploring so you can compare them to the prices your agent offers. And don’t forget to research how much houses have sold for in the past and what factors contributed to the sale price.
Considering that 20 percent of real estate agents have had their license for a year or less, you’ll definitely want to study up on the market.
As a first-time home buyer, what are your biggest concerns about buying a new home, and what are you most excited about?