March 2018 Newsletter

Buying Season Begins!

The Do’s & Don’ts of Buying Your First Home

When my wife & I were on the verge of buying our first home we had no idea what we were doing. We knew nothing about mortgages, insurance on a home, negotiating with a seller, nothing. We just knew we needed to buy a house at that time. Looking back, I wish we had known someone like the Pathfinder HomeOwnership Center to have in our corner during that process. Buying a house for the first time is scary. After all it is the biggest financial purchase you will likely ever make in your lifetime. It should be taken very seriously. To be very honest, if you’re buying that first home & you’re not at least a little intimidated, you may want to reconsider.

So how do we figure out how to properly navigate the complex and stressful process of buying that first home?

My team of HomeOwnership professionals came up with a list of some of the biggest Do’s & Don’ts that we have seen in our 20 years of helping people purchase their first home.

So here is what we came up with:

Do’s:

  1. Be prepared for the multiple costs of buying a home. Even if there is no down payment needed, there are still at least a couple thousand dollars in costs to purchase. Educate yourself on all the costs and fees and be sure to read the fine print on documents.
  2. Slow down and be patient. Give yourself plenty of time to get financing in order and to find the right home. The process won’t be immediate and if someone says it will be, they might not want you to notice the better options.
  3. Be realistic about what your budget is and what you can actually afford. A mortgage company or bank is going to tell you how much you can afford based on your income before taxes, insurance, etc. are taken out. But that’s almost never what you are actually able to afford. Look at your income and budget after your income tax & insurance is taken out.
  4. Ask plenty of questions and if you don’t know a lot about buying a house, bring a parent or friend who might know what to ask.
  5. Look at houses in person even if you didn’t like the pictures online. Sometimes people are just bad at taking pictures.
  6. Always get a home inspection. Even if the lender doesn’t require it.  The small investment to hire a professional is worth it in order to know what potential problems exist that cannot be seen.

Don’ts:

  1. Don’t fall in love with the first house you find! Shop around.
  2. Don’t settle for the first loan product you come across or the first loan product a lender tells you about. Ask around. Ask questions to the lender before settling on the loan.
  3. Don’t make ANY major purchases or take on new debt before closing on your home!
  4. Don’t try to hide any information from your lender. It’s always best to be up front and honest.
  5. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find a perfect house for you right away or if you lose a bidding war with another buyer. Be patient. Houses come up on the market all the time.

Buying your first home does not have to be complicated. It does not have to be so intimidating. Finding the right people to be in your corner should be your first step. As the prime home buying season begins, get some expert advice and guidance; good luck & look out for us next month as we talk about Negotiation: When to Say, “Deal”.