What to Consider When Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home can be a nerve-wracking process. When you’re looking for a home for the first time, you may not realize how many factors come into play that will ultimately help you make your final decision. The home-buying process should never be taken lightly as there are a handful of questions first-time home-buyers will need to be answered before the process is complete:

The answers to these questions are crucial to know and understand before you purchase your first home.

Know What You Can Afford

It’s important to first know your personal finances. What you can afford to buy is completely based on your personal credit, debt, and income. You also have to consider how much you are willing to pay for a down payment and for your monthly mortgage payments. Knowing your down payment and the maximum you are willing to spend on your mortgage each month will play a huge role when searching for homes. When you take out a mortgage loan, your credit will be one of the key factors in whether you are approved and will also help you determine your interest rate and the loan terms. It’s important to check your credit score before starting the home-buying process, especially when it is your very first one. If you’re planning to apply for a mortgage you should also avoid opening any new credit accounts, this includes making large purchases on any of your credit cards as well. Any time you start a new credit account it can cause your credit score to drop temporarily. While you may have an idea of the type of home you would like to purchase, what you can truly afford will be the deciding factor. Use a home affordability calculator to determine how much you can safely afford to spend, create a budget, and start saving up for that down payment. 

Know the Market

While you are looking for a leading realty group to help in your home search, you can start looking at homes in your area using any of the free home search apps or websites. A local realtor is going to be able to guide you through the home-buying process, tell you specific information about certain regions and neighborhoods, and help you find the best homes specific to your budget. The market changes so frequently that it is crucial to have a professional helping you each step of the way. Learn when it is the best time to buy so that you can get the best mortgage rate possible. When buying your first home, it is important to not over-extend your financial situation. Your first home is usually your “starter” home which means it may not have all of the bells and whistles but it is a great place to start and most importantly fits well within your budget. 

Finding a Real Estate Agent

Finding an experienced real estate agent that can save you time and money by helping you find your dream home and negotiate price on your behalf is crucial. But where do you even start? Just in the city of Phoenix alone, there are over a hundred real estate agencies competing for your business. 

Here at Capstone Realty, we have been ranked in the top 1% of Realtors by volume since 2016. If you’re looking to work with a dedicated seat of seasoned professionals that are attuned to the pulse of the Arizona market then we encourage you to contact our team today. When you’re looking for your first home it’s vital you work with someone that understands your situation and knows what kinds of home you’re looking for. It’s important to find an agency that knows your needs and financial situation. Schedule a free consultation so we can find out your goals and get started to help you find your dream home.

Start House Hunting 

Just looking at pictures can’t be a substitute for visiting homes in person and getting to know the neighborhood. Let your realtor know what homes you would like to see and discuss your “must-haves” in your first home to better help them narrow down your options.

We always encourage our clients to drive through neighborhoods to see what they like and what is for sale. It never hurts to do your research on the nearby schools as well. Schools actually have a lot more effect on the housing market than most people think. It’s also a great idea to keep notes on each property you visit. What are the pros of living here? What wouldn’t you like about living here? When visiting home after home it can be easy to forget what it is you liked or disliked about each which is why we always encourage our clients to take notes on each house. Lastly, keep your schedule open. Searching for your first home is a process that takes time. The seller’s market here in Phoenix is competitive so you should be prepared to jump on a great home when it gets listed. You gain an advantage over other buyers the sooner you put your offer in. 

Make an Offer

Your real estate agent will help you decide how much you want to offer for the house along with any conditions you will want to ask for. Your real estate agent will present your offer to the seller’s agent and it is up to the seller if he or she will accept your offer or issue a counter-offer. You can accept or continue to go back and forth until you either reach a deal or call it quits. That’s why it is so important to find a realtor that will fight for you when negotiating the cost of your home. 

Inspections and Walkthroughs 

Even if the house that you plan on purchasing seems flawless, it’s still important to have a trained professional inspect your potential dream home for the quality, safety, and overall condition. Having a home inspection or walkthrough helps you to get a better idea of the property’s mechanical and structural issues. You should get a home inspection done within the first 10 days after you sign a purchase agreement. Fees can vary depending on both the size of the property and the home inspector you decide to go with but normally stay between $300- $450.

Close on Your House 

After you have a better idea of the cost of the property and have requested any necessary repairs with the seller. It’s time for the loan to close on your home. Before you close you should carefully review the closing disclosure and compare it to your loan estimate to ensure that they are the same. Ask questions about your loan and correct anything before you sign the final documents. Before you close, you’ll take a final walkthrough with your real estate agent so if you have any final questions or concerns before you close that’ll be your last chance. Once all of the paperwork has been signed and the home is officially yours, you’ll get the keys and you can get started on making your house feel like a home.