Written by guest contributor, Valerie Cascione
There is no shortage of bad home-buying experiences out there, but buying your first home should be a time of excitement and represent a time of renewal – not a living nightmare. For first-time home-buyers, there is already a lot to think about, so as you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for keeping the process the way it was supposed to be – and not a nightmare.
Find a real estate agent who you trust.
Home buying is not only a huge financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the agent you chose is both skilled, dedicated and a good fit with your personality. A good agent will also have your best interests in mind and will give you honest feedback regarding your home-buying decisions.
Know that there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no “perfect” time to sell.
If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.
Don’t ask for too many opinions.
Have you ever heard the adage, “Too many chefs spoil the soup?” Well, there will always be naysayers and cynics quick to give you their opinion, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the needs and wants of your family and the people who will be living in the home.
Accept that no house is ever perfect.
The location may be perfect but the yard smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the bathrooms need updating. Make a list of your top priorities and focus on what’s most important to you and let the minor ones go.
Don’t try to over-negotiate.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. If a home is priced well, make a reasonable offer or you risk insulting the seller. Negotiation is give and take.
Definitely get a home inspection.
Buyers should find and hire their own inspector. When you make your offer, make sure the seller is aware that your offer is contingent on the house passing inspection.
Make sure you are pre-approved for a loan.
Don’t wait until you’ve found a home to get approved for a mortgage, a seller won’t even entertain your offer without it or proof of funds. A pre-approval will also give ample warning if your finances are not stable enough to afford a mortgage.
Budget for maintenance and repair costs.
Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short, and be sure to budget for the forgotten costs of new furniture, appliances, or upgrades.
Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment, but it also yields big benefits. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.
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*About the author: Valerie Cascione is a licensed real-estate agent in New York.*