So you’re thinking about buying your first home. Yeehaw! You’re in for an exhilarating, thrills-and-chills packed ride.
But no worries. Buying a home can be one of the most fun, most rewarding experiences of your life. Just don’t jump on your horse without a plan. And your hat and boots.
You can buy a home without the help of a real estate broker, but it costs the buyer nothing to get the help of a professional. These days, your real estate broker works with a team of other professionals to make the home buying or selling experience as seamless and rewarding as possible.
Your broker also knows the local market–which neighborhoods are hot and which homes are the best value for your dollar. You want that expertise.
Accredited Buyer’s Representative, Rachel Bradley, can help you find and negotiate the purchase of your first home. Check out her stellar client testimonials. And then call/text 503-936-3373. You’ll be glad you did.
Look for a broker who is knowledgeable, well connected, and hard working. And make sure that your broker is an accredited buyer’s agent who represents only you in the transaction.
Your real estate broker is your partner in one of the most important financial decisions of your life. So choose a broker who listens to you and puts your needs first. Someone you can trust and rely on. And someone who is there for you every step of the way.
The Credit Score
Before you engage a mortgage broker, verify your credit score and do whatever necessary to increase your credit worthiness. Check out Top 5 Ways To Boost Your Credit Score.
When you decide to buy a home, it’s important to know what you can actually afford and to stay focused on homes in that price category. There are online mortgage calculators that give you a rough idea of what you can afford, but they don’t consider all factors and can be mildly to wildly inaccurate.
The best bet is to get preapproved by a qualified mortgage lender. This will ensure that you are looking for homes in the right price range and that you can negotiate a buy quickly when you find the right house.
Your real estate agent probably has a mortgage lender on their team, so start there. Before you commit to a mortgage, however, be sure to compare several lenders. Lending rates and packages vary. So make sure you get the best deal possible.
Armed with your preapproval letter, you’re ready to shop for your first home.
There’s a lot you can change about the home you buy, but one thing you can never change is its location. Where your home resides is as important (maybe more important) than the home itself. So we recommend choosing your neighborhood first.
Really think about the lifestyle you want and deserve. And the surroundings and mix of people you want to come into contact with day after day.
Do you need close proximity to shopping, eating, and exercise? Are parks and trails important to you? Do you want to bike safely to work? Do you have a dog who needs daily walks and occasional off leash play time with other dogs? Do you prefer a certain style home? Do you want to participate in an active neighborhood association? Do you love the arts? Do you want a view? Tree-lined streets? Close proximity to downtown? Top-notch schools for your kids? A safe, kid-focused neighborhood? Access to a lake? A nearby golf course?
Make a long list and then stack rank it in order of importance. You can change your mind about any of the preferences on your list, but it’s important to have an initial game plan.
Now work with your real estate broker to determine which Portland neighborhoods can deliver on most of your criteria. And then which of these neighborhoods have numerous homes for sale within your budget. Spend time driving, walking, and hanging out in each qualified neighborhood. Let the vibe sink in.
In addition to the physical amenities, notice the residents. Is it a young crowd? Creative singles? Professional couples? Mostly families? Retirees? A mix? Do residents take pride in their properties? Do you feel at home?
After you zone in on the neighborhood of your dreams, it’s time to consider the house. Size is important, of course. But also architectural style, floor plan, yard, deck, and garage requirements. Do you want the bedrooms together on the same floor, for instance? Or do you prefer a separate floor for a teenager or parent? Do you need a closed office space? Craft room? Shop? Is a fireplace a must-have? Do you love your time in the garden? Do you love to entertain? Do you love seclusion and nature? And how much renovation are you willing to undertake in exchange for the best price possible?
First there’s the buyer’s offer to buy the house at a set price. Then there’s the seller’s acceptance (or counter offer), good-faith deposit, escrow, house inspection, and bank appraisal.
If major issues arise during inspection, the buyer can decline to purchase or re-negotiate the purchase price with the help of their real estate broker. The buyer can also decline to purchase if the house appraises for less than the price offered.
If all goes well, you will move into your new home 30-60 days after your offer to buy.
You did it! And this is the reward for your faith, determination, and hard work. Invite all your friends, and celebrate your new life in your new home. Life is an adventure, and it’s just beginning. Giddyup!
Whether you’re buying or selling, give us a call today at 971-804-4618. We know the Portland real estate market, we’re top-notch listeners, negotiators, problem solvers, and marketing pros–and we’re here for YOU.
More Tips for First time Home Buyers
- About.com: Tips for a First-time Home Buyer
- eHow: First Time Home Buyer Tips
- Forbes: Ten Tips For First-Time Home Buyers
- Investopedia: Top Tips For First-Time Home Buyers
- Investopedia: 10 Hurdles To Closing On A New Home
- MSN Real Estate: 7 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
- Next Advisor: Top 5 Ways To Boost Your Credit Score
- Union Leader: 10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers