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Top Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

November 1, 2021

Buying a home for the first time can be an anxiety-inducing experience. How can I avoid common mistakes? What happens after closing? Where can I save some money? Although it can seem daunting, buying a home doesn’t have to be scary! Read on to discover Highline’s top 7 tips for first time home buyers.

Start the Saving Process First: There are three main costs to consider when buying a home: down payment, closing costs, and move-in expenses. Some loans for first time home buyers (with excellent credit) allow as little as 3% down on a house payment. For a $400,000 home, that would be $12,000, so starting to save as early as possible would make the process easier. Also consider that closing costs can be between 2% to 5% of the loan amount. That, combined with the actual cost of moving in, can catch people by surprise. With foreknowledge and budgeting, you can avoid that common pitfall!

Strengthen Your Credit: Getting a good loan that fits your needs will save you a headache down the road. Before applying for a loan, strengthen your credit score by paying your bills on time, keeping your spending low, and checking your score with your credit card or a site like Nerd Wallet.

Find The Right Agent: When you find the right real estate agent, buying a home goes from a stressful and mysterious process to a process that flows seamlessly from one step to the next. Consider factors like your timeline, budget, and neighborhood before choosing an agent. Check out this article for more information.

Full Written Disclosure: It’s crucial to insist on full written disclosure from the seller prior to signing. You want to be aware of any known issues with the home and any attempts to repair them, so you aren't taken by surprise during remodels or repairs. Things like a history of mold, infestation, or pests will give you a complete picture of what you’re getting into.

Be Prepared for Hidden Expenses: Even with full disclosure, there can be hidden expenses or problems that nobody knew about beforehand. Be sure to budget in money for unexpected repairs to the furnace, HVAC, roof, or anything else down the road.

Protect Your Investment: Even though competition is still historically high in the housing market, make sure that you’re not paying more than you should. Don’t waive appraisals and inspections to make your offer more attractive; an appraisal will help ensure that you’re paying what the house is actually worth. Sandy Spring Bank said it best: “We recommend that all buyers perform an inspection to protect their investment and the health and safety of their family.”

Get To Know the Neighborhood: Sometimes buyers can try and hurry through a sale without really looking at what’s around them. Make sure you take off your rose-colored glasses and take a good look at the neighborhood. What are you close to? Who are your neighbors? What kinds of attractions does the neighborhood have? An hour of research beforehand is worth more than years of regret after.

And those were Highline’s top tips for new home buyers! We wish you the best of luck on your journey towards home ownership. May your days be filled with positive emails, approved loans, accepted offers, and excellent inspections. If you have any questions about buying a home or remodeling your current home, don’t hesitate to reach out to a team member!

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