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Buying First Home
Are you thinking about buying your first home? If so, by taking a few steps, you can make the process fun and enjoyable. Buying a home takes time, requires significant documentation, research, verifications, and can be one of the most frustrating events in life. Knowing the common mistakes will help you avoid them.

If you were to ask ten people about their first home-buying experience, you would probably hear nine horror stories. It is not that anyone is doing a bad job, simply that buying a home is a big investment and requires a lot of work. Without a doubt, buying a first home is an emotional roller coaster that begins with house hunting and does not end until closing. Most people feel physically and mentally exhausted after buying a home but after moving in and being settled, they realize all of the effort was worth it.

To make the process as seamless as possible, consider the following tips:

Choose a reputable real estate agent that you can trust and is a part of an entire team. Does the real estate agent have a powerful lender that will work hard for your benefit? Does your real estate agent know of a qualified inspector who will help find every flaw in the home you are interested in buying? A strong team will benefit you more than anything else will. A team of professionals working together can make things happen and happen right.

Before you do anything, talk to a qualified realtor to determine exactly what you can and cannot afford. In addition to current lifestyle and income versus debt ratio, discuss plans for the future. Are you planning to have children? Are you interested in adding onto a home with amenities such as a swimming pool, spa, solar panels, etc? Do you expect your income to increase significantly? Are you planning any large item purchases? Be realistic and honest.

When you start looking at homes for sale, look at no fewer than ten, preferably more. Remember that you do not have to buy the first home you see nor do you have to rush through the process. Your situation may require that you shop quickly, but if this is your situation, a great real estate agent can help.

As you look at each home, look past the seller’s furnishings, wallpaper and color of paint, window treatments, and even carpeting, keeping your focus on the home’s architectural structure. Cosmetics can always be changed but changing architectural design can be difficult and very costly. Therefore, do not allow other’s belongings to influence your decision.

Many people buying a first home will walk through, open a few doors or cabinets, poke their head into each room and then make a decision. Buying a home, this way is a disaster waiting to happen. You want to look at the home in detail. This means looking in, around, under, and on top of everything. If the homeowner is there and tries to move you along quickly or makes you feel uncomfortable for being thorough, leave quickly! When you find a home you like, make sure the home is inspected by a licensed Professional Engineer, not just an “inspector”. You may need to pay a little extra for this level of quality but when he or she finds all the hidden problems of the home, you will be glad you did.

Make sure every cost associated with buying the home of your dreams is considered. Expenses such as insurance, taxes, maintenance, and homeowner association dues should be accounted for. Additionally, you want to determine the average for utility bills, which can be done simply by asking the owner.

Before you put pen to paper, you and your real estate agent should do a final walk-through after the seller has moved out. This will allow you to see under the throw rugs, behind the pictures on the wall, in the back of the closets, and so on. Many times, spots on the rug, holes in the wall, or a water leak will not be found until the final walk-through.

Be flexible when it comes to scheduling your home closing. Most closings are rescheduled at least once. Sadly, the buyer is excited to have a date when the keys to the house will be theirs. They do not sleep well days before the closing and are so disappointed when they receive a call being told another document is needed, a signature is missing, or the final inspection was not done and therefore, the closing is postponed. Expect that your closing will be delayed at least once and then if not, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Finally, remember that things not in writing are not real. You may have had a discussion or been given a promise that never comes to fruition because it was not put in writing. Working with a qualified realtor will certainly help but you too can help. Start a journal and keep track of specific discussions or promises, the person who made them, the date, and the details. Then when it comes time for the contract to be finalized, ensure that these items are in writing.

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