If you’re looking to buy a house, you’re probably excited to be taking this step. Your house is going to be your home, your safe place, and you’ll be living a happy daydream once you make it your own. But for first-time homebuyers, it might be a bit confusing figuring out how the whole process works. Here are seven tips for buying a house. (It basically involves asking yourself a lot of questions.)
7 tips for first-time homebuyers.
1. Know what you’re looking for in a house.
The first step is making sure that you know what you’re looking for in your dream house. Do you want a townhouse? A single-family dwelling? Are you brave enough to take on a fixer-upper? You have to consider what style of house best suits your needs and your long-term goals. (Then you can move on to more trivial matters – brick or stucco? Basement or no basement? Bungalow, multiple floors? Right – trivial stuff.) This might help you figure out what you’re looking at as far as how much you’re planning to spend. Might as well get the sticker-shock out of the way, right?
2. Have a list of must-haves.
This is the fun part! You should think about creating a list of attributes you want your dream house to have. There are more house specific things. What layout do you want? Do you want a finished basement – or, well, any basement? Is there a number of bedrooms and bathrooms that you want? Do you want a patio? And then there are other considerations that are related more to the location of the house. Do you need a house in a good school district? Is the house in a busy area, or a quiet one? What’s within walking distance?
Yes, this is your dream house, so it’s okay to be picky as a first-time homebuyer. Maybe there are deal-breakers in mind. But, all in all, consider how much each item on your list weighs in the grand scheme of things. If you look at a house, you’re looking at the big picture. Try not to get too hung up on the little things. (For example, does the laundry room really have to be on the upstairs floor, or would you be fine if it were on the main floor?)
3. Consider your budget.
This is the not-so-fun part for first-time homebuyers. You have to consider what sort of mortgage you’re going to be working with. What sort of loan are you going to be able to get? That aside, what’s the actual cost of the house going to be? There’s the monthly payment, but then there’s the total cost of the house. Then you have to think about the taxes. And if there are any maintenance to be done or changes you want to make to the house, you have to factor in those costs as well. We don’t want to burst your bubble, but it is important to think about the money side of things. Finances are a big deal, and something first-time homebuyers need to consider.
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4. Think about a real estate agent.
The next thing you need to consider is a real estate agent. If you choose a trustworthy, professional real estate agent, they can help you with house hunting and such. They can also help you with paperwork, negotiating, offering, and all that good stuff. The help of a real estate agent can really make a difference when it comes to buying a house.
5. Know how buying a house works.
The next thing is that it might be helpful is to know how the whole buying a house thing works. Here’s a general overview of what that looks like:
You find the house. The first thing is that you need to find your house, of course. You can go through a real estate agent, look at online postings, or ask family and friends for recommendations.
Figure out how you’ll pay for the house. You have to look into the types of loan you can get and see what will work best for you. (Also – don’t forget to look at the interest rate. This can make a big difference on the price of the house in the long run.)
You make an offer. So, then there’s the offer. Your real estate agent can help you figure out what you want to offer for the house. Then your agent takes your offer to the other real estate agent. There might be some back-and-forth, and eventually, you will either make a deal…or not. If you do make an agreement, then you put down a deposit. Then escrow happens as the seller takes the house off the market. (You’re expected to buy the house at that point.)
The home inspection. The next step is the home inspection. You’ll need to have a trustworthy professional do the home inspection to make sure all is as it should be. Hopefully, there are no major issues. If there are, you might be able to get your deposit back or work something out with the seller.
Then you close the deal. This is the super fun, paperwork part. (Hopefully, there are no last-minute expenses to worry about.)
6. Set yourself up for success.
Even when you buy the house, you’re still going to have to be prepared for the future. It’s a good idea to start an “emergency fund” for minor repairs so that you have a piggy bank, so to speak, if something happens. Things break, after all, and you’ll have a lot of responsibility looking after a whole house.
Another thing for first-time homebuyers to consider is that you’ll also need to maintain your house. Proper home maintenance is key to helping your house live a long and happy life. It might be easy to overlook, but don’t underestimate the importance of looking after your house.
7. Get home insurance.
You also have to get home insurance to protect your house. The HO-3 policy is your typical home insurance policy, and it protects your house on an open-perils basis and your belongings on a named-perils basis. Typical home insurance policies provide the following coverages:
Dwelling: Protects the structure of your house from losses like fire.
Personal property: Protects your belongings (you might want to consider insuring your belongings for their replacement cost value.)
Other structures: Protects structures on your property that aren’t attached to the house itself, like a garden shed.
Additional living expenses: Can provide reimbursement of expenses above and beyond your normal costs of living (i.e. a hotel bill) in case you have to live somewhere else because of a covered loss.
Liability: Can protect you if someone is hurt on your property and sues you. It can also provide coverage for claims of property damage liability.
The importance of having the right home insurance can’t be overstated. But for first-time homebuyers, home insurance might seem overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with home insurance alone. Our team can help you get the homeowners insurance that suits your needs. Our goal is to make insurance easy and to help our clients find peace of mind knowing that their homes and finances are protected.
To get in touch with our team, all you have to do is fill out our online form, give us a call, or message us on LiveChat. We really enjoy helping first-time homebuyers get the insurance they need to protect their home.