No matter how much time you spend researching and educating yourself about your home purchase, it’s hard to cover every detail. Here are a few tips to avoid rookie mistakes with your first home purchase.
1. Who’s your agent:
In most states, including Rhode Island, real estate agent fees are paid by the seller, not the buyer. Sellers have their own agent & you should too--someone that represents your interests first and foremost. A great agent will also serve as a concierge throughout the home-buying process and beyond.
2. Be thorough with mortgage shopping & get Pre-Approved:
There are countless resources out there that can help you get the best terms for your mortgage. It may seem like a lot of work to shave less than a point off your mortgage rate, but it’ll save you thousands in the long run.
When it comes to down payments, the good news is that you may not have to put 20% down. There are a lot of funding options available, from 0% down to 3%, 5%, & 10%--each of these options have their pros & cons.
You should talk to at least two different lenders & compare the offered rates, I can help you find a lender to work with that will help you to determine the best financing option that meets your particular needs. A lender will pre-approve you for financing which is generally required when you are ready to submit an offer on a property.
3. Learn the market online & by going to open houses:
Now that you are pre-approved & know your home-buying budget, you can use the fantastic tools available online to find properties in your preferred areas. These sites will help you to better understand actual property values as well as compare real estate taxes. Visiting open houses in different areas will also give you a better sense of the market value in different locations. When you're ready, I can join you at these open houses & set up appointments for private showings as well as help you identify potential properties to consider.
4. Figure out your non-negotiables vs preferences:
Wallpaper & carpet can be removed & replaced, but you can’t change the location. Know the difference between your non-negotiables, what you absolutely need a home to offer, & mere preferences, or those things that shouldn’t make you automatically rule out a potential property. I always encourage my clients to see as many properties as possible--you may be surprised how your preferences evolve as you go through the house-hunting process. It doesn't matter to me whether we look at five or fifty homes--it's important to take the time to make sure you find the home that's right for you!
5. Anticipate the emotional ups & downs:
This may be my best tip & it's not one that you'll find on many lists. Buying a home can be extremely stressful & at times very overwhelming--especially the first time around. You'll have doubts, you'll feel anxious, you'll question your judgement. I will be here to guide you through each step & we'll work together to alleviate your fears so that you can feel confident in your choices. We will find the home that is best for you!