Sometimes the hardest part about implementing a plan is just getting started. If you are considering your first home purchase you may feel a little like you are getting ready to launch yourself off of a cliff. Don't worry! With a little planning and a great support team, buying a new home can be really exciting.
But how do you get started? Here is a list of to-do's to get you marching confidently toward home ownership.
1. Call lender to discuss a plan.
You may have trusted bank or a friend or relative who can make a recommendation. The lender that you select for your home purchase is CRITICAL to the success. Don't just find someone on the internet, call them, chat for a while and consider it done. Any lender that you choose should have good references for working with first time buyers. You will not only need to get qualified to buy your home, but you might have to put a plan in place before you can get qualified. A good lender will discuss your debt, let you know what will hurt your chances for loan approval and help you find the resources you need to get your finances in order so that your loan will be approved.
2. Determine your priorities.
Do you want to be close to work? Close to family? In the
country? Do you want a big back yard? No yard at all? Do you want a single-family home? A townhouse? A condo? Do you want new construction? There are a lot of things to consider. Think about them BEFORE you begin the process. Your priorities will change, but it is important to have a list to start the process.
3. Drive around. We all live and breath technology these days, but there is still no substitute for checking out neighborhoods in person. Later, you can look at homes in certain areas using your computer and aerial views, but you need to get a sense of where you want to live first. If you want a walkable neighborhood, then get out and walk around; make sure it meets your expectations.
4. Figure out your timing: lease ending, promotion coming, life event expected, or 'just ready.' Very few people come right into the job market and buy a new home. There is usually a point at which you feel ready. Everyone has their own reason, but think about your reason and the subsequent timing. If you are in a month-to-month lease, you will have far more flexibility than a looming move-out date; be sure you leave yourself the right amount of time. Have a plan before you jump into looking for a new home.
5. Ask friends for a Realtor® referral. Just like with the lender, you need to make sure you find someone who will be able to find you the home you need, at the price you want and who you will trust to negotiate the best possible deal for you. This is a huge purchase; don't just choose someone without making sure that you will work well with them and trust them as you go through the process. If you don't trust that your Realtor is looking out for your best interest, you will be really stressed throughout the process.
Buying your first home is a big deal--and can be quite scary. Doing some up-front work will make the process smoother and help you feel more prepared every step of the way.
If you are considering buying your first Northern Virginia home, give me a call and let's sit down for coffee and talk about how I can make this process a GREAT experience!
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A GREAT Real Estate experience.
If I can help you, your friends or family buy or sell their next home in Northern Virginia, please let me know!
If you need help with a home outside of Northern Virginia, I have an extensive network of referral agents and will make sure you are working with the best!
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