Tuesday, January 29, 2013

6 Tips for First Time Home Buyers

You've finally decided to make one of life’s biggest decisions – buying your first home. No longer will you have to deal with stuffy landlords, exorbitant rent prices, or annoying neighbors—you will finally have a space you can call all your own. Now that you've made this very adult decision, you need to consider a few things before you make one of the biggest purchases you will make in your entire life. Before you buy, you need to ask yourself some serious questions. If you already own property and are looking into purchasing income property, you will also need to do your homework.

Tips for Homeowners 

1. Know Your Budget and Mortgage Basics 

It’s important to know what you can afford to spend before you seriously start looking to buy. It is also equally important to know how much mortgage you qualify for. Look for first time homeowners seminars in your area to get more information or speak to a representative at your bank.

2. Get a Real Estate Agent you Trust

Looking for your dream home on your own can get overwhelming. This is where real estate agents come in. They can help you figure out the logistics of a sale, will negotiate prices for you, and will do all the paper work. It’s important you have a good rapport with your agent and that they know what your needs and wants are. Remember, you are the one who will be living in this home, not them.

3. Make a Smart Offer

Your real estate agent can help you navigate this important step of the purchasing process. This is your time to name a price as well as your conditions for purchasing. More than likely the seller will counter-offer, putting the ball back in your court. Once you come to an agreement, you will go into escrow which means you have 30 days in order to inspect and purchase the property.

4. Get a Home Inspection

During the escrow period, it is your responsibility to get a home inspection. During this inspection a trained professional will check every inch of the property to make sure it’s safe and sound and ready for purchase. If they find any issues (mold or other deficiencies the seller did not mention), you can still retract your offer.

5. Read Before You Sign

Like all things in life, it is always crucial to read the fine print before you sign any agreement. It is also important to get everything in writing and avoid verbal agreements. Your banker and real estate agent can help walk you through any language or steps you are unsure of.

6. Cover all Angles on Your Income Property

Income property is property that is bought with the intention of renting or leasing. It is a higher risk than owner occupied properties, but can be beneficial in helping you off-set the costs on your own home and bring in extra income. Before purchasing a residential or commercial income property you need to do your research. Know your rights as a landlord and see if the time and money put into the property will put you out ahead in the long run.

Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance website dedicated to helping homeowners find the best credit cards.

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