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First Time Home Buyer Tips

Aug 17, 2007
For the first time home buyer, buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you will ever do. If you have spent years living in apartments, there is nothing more satisfying than owning your own property. The process can be a little lengthy and you might hit a few bumps in the road to home ownership. The following tips will help the first time homeowner avoid some of the hiccups.

Step one is to talk to a real estate agent about the home buying process. It should not be a sales meeting and you should be able to find an agent that will agree to meet with you about the basics without having to sign a sales agreement with them. If you cannot find a good agent to talk to, you might want to consider talking to a loan officer at your bank or a mortgage broker.

An equally important tip is to get your finances in order before you apply for a mortgage. Order a copy of your credit report so you can check it for accuracy. Mistakes are common and you want to make sure that there is no fraudulent activity. You have the right to dispute errors on your credit report. If you come across something that you know is an error, circle it and send it to the reporting agency along with a letter of dispute.

Next, you should really study the mortgage industry. You need to be able to find the right loan and lender most suitable for your needs. Familiarize yourself with industry terms like debt to income ratio and adjustable rate mortgage. Learn the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualified. It will all seem foreign at first, but taking the time to learn the business will spare you from headaches in the future.

Also, you need to figure out what your wants and needs are. What kinds of amenities are you looking for? How many bedrooms? One story or two story home? You also need to consider the size of the down payment and figure out what you need to do to come up with the money for it.

You must learn about how real estate agents work. There are buyers agents and sellers agents. A buyers agents responsibility is to negotiate the best deal for the buyer. The goal of the sellers agent is to get the price that the seller most desires. The best way to find the right agent is to ask your friends for suggestions. They have all probably been in the same boat, so they can probably recommend a good real estate agent.

When meeting with a potential agent, pay attention to how they treat you. Make sure they listen to you when you talk about what you want. Also, how are their follow up skills? Do they take the time to return your calls or emails? If they do not take the time to respond, move on. There is a better agent out there for you.

When looking for a home, consider all of the possibilities. Look up real estate agents websites. Do not rule out For Sale by Owner Properties and foreclosed homes. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homes can often be found for very reasonable prices. You do need to find an agent that is approved to sell HUD homes if you choose to take that road to home ownership.

Before you even think about making an offer, you need to consider the resale value. You might plan on being there for a long time, but you just never know. You might opt for a different climate to alleviate your allergies or you could simply be transferred by your company. You want to pick a good location that will be attractive to others as well.

Another issue that cannot be ignored are the deed restrictions, which govern what you can and cannot do with the property. If it has always been your dream to have a pool, you want to make sure that you do not buy a home in a subdivision that will not allow it because of deed restrictions.

Home inspections are an important part of the equation. Talk to your agent to find out when the inspection will be performed. It varies state to state. Sometimes the inspection will be right before the contract is signed and other times, they are performed right after an offer is made.

Finally, make sure you stay on top of things. Any number of problems can crop up at the last minute and delay the purchase of your home. If you are not sure about something with the paperwork, do not be afraid to ask questions. You might think of something that everyone else has overlooked.

Purchasing a home is a time consuming and sometimes frustrating task, but it is worth it when you have your backyard barbeques.
About the Author
Ken Black is the owner of http://www.mortgages-101.org, a site all about Home Mortgages .
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