For many buying a home will be the biggest investment they make in their life. Below is a actual advice from someone who just recently purchased not too long and can relate to the anxiety as well as what to do and not to do.
I moved into my first home in February 2012.
At age 45 I was finally able to buy my first home. It was the most exciting and trying time of my life. This was not only the most expensive purchase of my life but I knew I was entering an experience I really knew nothing about. I was going to have a whole lot of new responsibilities and have to learn new things as a homeowner.
There is a lot of information out there on purchasing a home and it can be overwhelming. I want to keep it simple and just pass on a few tips.
1. Get a credit report. Find out what your credit rating is. If it’s low make a plan to clean it up. There are tons of information on the internet on how to raise your credit rating.
2. GET PREQUALIFIED FIRST! The reason I put this in caps is that it’s the first thing you need to do. Know what you’re qualified for. I was online viewing homes for 6 months before I knew what I could afford. Know what your reality is and stop wasting time on things that are not within your reach. Focus on your goal and look at homes that are within your budget. You have to know how much you have to shop with. It’s like walking into Gucci when you really can only shop at Target. Nice to look at but you’re not going to be able to buy anything.
3. Ask your lender what will your estimate closing costs be? What will your down payment be?
What are the advantages of putting more money down? Ask questions even if you think they sound dumb. If you’re confused ask!
4. Interview your agent. You are hiring them to find/ sell a home. Ask them – do you have referrals, Websites, why should I hire you? What will you do for me? Do you feel comfortable with this person? Remember this is going to be your best friend/advocate for the next few months.
5. Speaking of months it took 7 months from the time we put in an offer on our home to getting the keys. Realize buying a house isn’t like going to a car lot. It’s a process and it may take months. Many people don’t realize this and get anxious or angry. You should have a good agent who communicates to you and keeps you informed. Again ask questions!
6. Don’t buy anything on credit like new furniture for the place you haven’t bought or a car. Do not co-sign for anyone. It will definitely affect your credit and may change your credit rating.
7. Learn to compromise. The kitchen may old, but you are in the neighborhood you want. Remember you can always update later. A year later my kitchen is still in the process of being remodeled but I love my neighborhood. Some people say they are looking for the “perfect house”. They may be looking for a long time.
8. Don’t move around your money. No big withdrawals or deposits in your savings or checking accounts. You will have to show proof of it to your lenders and it’s a big time hassle for you. I had to spend a week getting statements, receipts and writing letters for big cash deposits I did.
9. Don’t let this experience cause Extreme stress on your life. The reason I say Extreme is because when you buy a home there is some stress to be expected but don’t let it turn you into a mess. Take it day by day.
I told my husband that buying our house was more stressful that going to college. There’s a lot of learning, commitment and finances involved. We finally got the keys to our new home and the first thing I thought of when I walked in was “ I can paint these walls any damn color I want . This coming from a former renter.