The Essential House Buying Checklist for First Time Home Buyers

Did you know home buyers find it stressful shopping in the current market? Buyers deal with bidding wars, disappointing results, and pricey houses. If you need some tips as a first-time home buyer, we can help.

In this house buying checklist, you'll learn about the importance of working with a reputable realtor. Consider your budget, get a pre-approval, and prepare for an intense shopping experience.

Ready to learn more? Check out the helpful tips below.

Work With a Reputable Realtor

Before shopping for your new home, you should contact a few realtors in your area.

You should find a realtor who has experience working with similar clients. If you're looking for a family home, work with someone who has this expertise.

If you want a recommendation, consider asking your family or friends. They might have recently worked with a realtor that helped them find their new home.

Word-of-mouth is always an excellent way to find a trustworthy individual. Learn more about how to find a decent realtor near where you live.

Talk to a Mortgage Lender

Reach out to a mortgage lender. They will tell you if you're financially ready to buy a house. They will also be able to tell you what home prices to consider.

The lender will tell you what steps to take so you can get a mortgage. They might suggest you improve your credit score. A solid credit score will give you a lower interest rate.

You should also look at improving your debt-to-income ratio. This will influence your mortgage approval. Your monthly income that goes toward debt will influence how much a lender gives you.

Lenders hope to see a debt-to-income ratio no larger than 43 percent. Try to pay off your debt as you get ready to buy a home.

What's Your Budget?

When shopping for your first home, you'll want to determine your budget. How much can you afford to spend? Do you have an adequate amount of money set aside for your down payment?

Sit down with your partner and crunch some numbers. Figure out how much you can afford on your mortgage each month.

You'll also need to consider potential maintenance work, home insurance, and taxes. These are extra amounts you wouldn't have needed to cover when renting an apartment.

Plan to do some maintenance work on your house every year to keep it in good shape. This will also benefit you when you look at selling your home.

What Are Your Future Plans?

First-time homebuyers usually don't stay in their first home.

Some people make the rare decision of finding a home and staying in it for 30-plus years. Think about your long-term plan. Will you stay in this house for years, or do you hope to move in five years?

Where Will You Live?

When buying a new house, you should always consider the location. If you're a small family, research the local schools in the area. Is the community family-friendly? Are there parks or libraries within walking distance?

Take a drive around the community and get a feel for the area. Does it feel safe? Would you feel comfortable going for a walk at night?

Get a Pre-Approval

To make the shopping experience go smoothly, look at getting a pre-approval done. This will provide you and your realtor with a budget. You'll understand the maximum amount you could spend on a house.

Make sure you get this done before you go shopping. Otherwise, you could be disappointed if a house you love is far beyond your range.

Consider Other Mortgage Options

First-time home buyers should look into different mortgage options. You could qualify for a conventional loan and become part of a first-time homebuyer program.

Other options are the Veteran Affairs, Federal Housing Administration, or the US Department of Agricultural loans. They all offer either no or low down payment options.

You could also look into an assistance program. These programs provide help with closing costs or down payment funds. You don't need to pay them back.

Prepare for Closing Costs

When you find a house and make an offer, you will need a down payment.

You will also need to prepare to spend on closing costs. Closing costs include the lawyer's fee, taxes on the house, and possibly a house inspection.

When you draw up a budget, account for some of these expenses. You don't want to get into a situation where you can't afford the inspection or lawyer fees. Don’t forget these steps to buying a house. 

Consider Your Must-Haves

When shopping for your first home, you should determine what you need in a house. If you don't have a vehicle and need to use public transit, make sure the house is near a bus route.

If you're a large family, make sure the home has enough rooms for your children. Want to live near a school so your kids can walk there? Add this to your checklist for buying a home. 

Use This Essential House Buying Checklist 

We hope this house buying checklist was insightful.

Make sure you determine your budget, get a pre-approval, and figure out what you need in a house. Find out how much you'll need to budget for closing costs and lawyer fees.

You should drive around a neighborhood you're interested in before buying. You want to get a general sense of the atmosphere there and if it feels safe.

Need some help with the house hunting in San Diego or Riverside County? Contact our realtors today for more information. We would love to help you out.

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