cool house for a first

A Quick Guide To Buying Your First Home

Our friend Todd submitted this excellent advice.

Some people will rent for their entire lives, but most people will buy a house at some point in their lives.  If you are a first time home buyer, it can seem scary putting so much money into one purchase that is quite permanent.  Fortunately, buying your first home can be less scary than you think.

The first step is to get a real estate agent that can help to guide you through the process.  If you dont know anything about buying a house, they will how you who to contact, which order, and what all the jargon means.  They can recommend a good mortgage broker or bank with the lowest rates at the time so that you can maximize your investment.  After you get pre-approved for a mortgage and have a budget, the real estate agent will start to find houses that fit your criteria.  This makes it much easier to select a few houses that you will want to physically see, and hopefully they will point out the house you decide to buy.

Searching online for real estate information is also crucial for first time home buyers.  Websites have a wealth of knowledge about what the interest rates mean, the types of loans, and where to find the best houses.  Even with a real estate agent, it is great to search for houses online so that you can be realistic about what your price range can afford in your area.

If you are unsure how the whole loan process work, you are not alone.  It can be a bit confusing and there are several different choices that you can make during your home-buying process.   Here is a great video that maps out the process of buying a house and helps make it a bit easier.

buying your first home

5 Tips to Buying Your Dream House

Buying a house that fits your dreams is not as difficult as you think.  Sure, you might not be able to afford the four thousand square foot house sitting on an 8 acre farm that some millionaires may choose, but the average person can still find the perfect house with a bit of searching.  Use these tips to get the most bang for your buck and find a house that you will never want to move out of.

  1. Plan far enough ahead: Start looking for a new house well before you actually need to move.  If you know that your lease is up at a certain time, start looking for houses at least six months before.  Depending on location and your requirements, it may take over a year to find a suitable house, but, on average, plan on at least six months.  By leaving yourself enough time, you will be able to go through all your options and sort through the bad choices.  You will be less likely to make a quick decision or feel that you are forced into a house you don’t absolutely love.
  2. Map out your finances: Work with a Dallas mortgage lender, real estate agent, or banker to determine exactly how much house you can afford.  This will allow you to target the exact house price range that you can search for and pinpoint possible homes.  Get pre-approved by several banks to find the best mortgage rates and to find out how much you would be qualified for.  Once you know how much the bank will loan you, it is important to look at how much your income can actually support and if you would feel comfortable making payments.  Just because the bank will give you a certain amount of money, doesn’t mean that you should borrow the maximum amount.
  3. Use a real estate agent: In this age, it is possible to do a lot of house searching online without having to actually visit the house.  Websites show pictures of the interior and exterior, and detailed maps let you see exactly who the neighbors are.  Unfortunately, there are still aspects that you cant tell from pictures and having a real person with knowledge of the house has no substitute.  Using a real estate agent is one of the best ways to narrow down your search without burning out, allowing you to focus on the couple houses you absolutely love.
  4. Do a drive by: Even after you research the house online and are recommended by the real estate agent, you will want to drive by the house and check out the neighborhood.  See if you like the feel of the street and if you could see your family playing and socializing with the neighbors.  Sometimes you will find out that there is an industrial park right behind the house or that the house description failed to mention the tiny backyard.  Take in the details before spending too much time with open houses or looking through pictures.
  5. Be realistic: Take a hard look at your financial situation to determine if splurging with a slightly bigger house is worth not having the money right now.  Would it be better to save a bit and put off moving?  Sometimes staying in your current house for an extra year could save you the money needed to buy your favorite house later on.  See if it would be better to buy a cheaper house and then do simple upgrades that would improve the value of the house and make it more personal for you.
  6. Will you need renovations?  If you plan on hiring someone to do some carpentry work to either change something, add a room or anything else, make sure to get pricing here.  You don’t want to jump ahead and then get a huge surprise!

In the end, finding the perfect house is possible if you take the time to search throughout your local area and find that hidden gem that other people may have overlooked.  Good luck!