First Time Home Buyers
If you are a first-time home buyer, use the guide below for helpful tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home in Middle Tennessee.
- Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and determine how much you can afford to pay for a home.
- Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes out of your price range. With a Pre-Approval, the buyer applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal, and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close.
- Needs VS Wants: Make yourself 2 separate lists. The first should include items you must have: the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, one-story if accessibility is a factor, etc. The second list is your wishes - the things you would like to have but are not necessary: an inground swimming pool, a bigger garage, a separate bonus room, etc. Realistically for first-time home buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
- Professional Representation: Hire a real estate agent. It would be best if you had someone working for you exclusively, not the seller. Your representation keeps your information confidential, finances private, and negotiates on your behalf. This is how you'll gain the best opportunities. It's not something to leave up to chance.
- Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, maybe a Home Buying Notebook, keep handy items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
- Print out a single page for each property your agent shows you.
- On the back of each sheet, after you view the property and before you go to another, make a list of 3 pros and 3 cons that the property offers that you want to be sure and remember.
- Of course, paper and pen for taking notes.
- Take pictures of homes you have toured to help you remember your favorites and the features you liked most.
- Visualization: While viewing homes, don't get distracted by the personal effects of the seller. Instead, visualize the house empty and with your decor. Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light? Is there enough space?
- Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart, let's think with your head as you find the right home. Does this home meet your needs? Don't make impulsive decisions you may regret later.
- Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you significant expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
- Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
- Have the property inspected by a professional home inspector and get a termite inspection.
- Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
All the above may seem somewhat overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keeping track of all the details is highly recommended. Please contact us directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.