How To Prepare For The Home-Buying Process

Buying a home can be an intimidating process, especially when you're buying your first home. Although you're probably anxious to close a sale and get moved into a home of your own, it's good to take your time and get things in order before you start house hunting. A house is a huge financial investment, so you want to spend your money wisely. Here are some important steps to take when buying a home

Hire A Real Estate Agent

When you're buying a house, you want your own agent working for you rather than work with the listing agent. The listing agent works for the seller and has the seller's best interest in mind. Your own agent is most concerned with your interests and will advise you when it comes to overpriced houses, good neighborhoods to buy in, and what to bid. Your agent is in the field touring houses daily, so they already know what's on the market, and they can speed up the process of finding the perfect match for you.

Save More Money Than You Think You'll Need

You can't really compare the cost of rent with the cost of owning a home, but you'll have more expenses than the cost of your monthly mortgage. There are costs associated with closing the house and costs associated with moving and getting your new home established. You'll also be responsible for maintenance, repairs, and replacing appliances. Be sure to work out a realistic long-term budget that takes these extra expenses into account, so you know when you're financially ready to buy your new house.

Research The House Before You Buy

Once you buy a house, you may be stuck living there for a few years until you can move, even if you're unhappy with it. For that reason, make sure there is nothing wrong with the property or neighborhood that will cause problems once you move in. A home inspection is essential, and you may want a property survey done even if your mortgage lender doesn't require one. Look into the crime statistics for the neighborhood and find out about any planned developments.

Allow Yourself Plenty Of Time To Look

You probably don't want to buy a house right away. Instead, take your time and look at as many homes as you can at a leisurely pace so that you don't get overwhelmed. You can even tour open houses by yourself on weekends to get a feel for what's on the market when it comes to price ranges in different neighborhoods. Search listings online daily to catch new homes on the market and consult your real estate agent about the nature of the local market and home availability.

Sometimes, you may need to move fast if you want a home in a popular neighborhood, so you want to have things in order, including a pre-approval for a mortgage, when the competition is strong for homes.