First Time Home Buyers: 10 Tips for Success

    You regret buying those steaks the butcher had on sale.  All fat and gristle. It’s a little painful, but lesson learned. You’ll pay the extra money for a better cut next time.

    It sexy at the time.  But with a baby, buying the two-seater, Corvette ZR1 now seems like a bad idea.  The insurance is killing you, and you hardly drive it. Time to sell…maybe for a loss.  It’s  painful.

    It’s one thing to buy the wrong cut of meat or even the wrong car. Those aren’t life altering bad decisions. But what if you buy the wrong house?

    Your one child has grown to three. The problem is, you only have two bedrooms. The school district isn’t so good either. How can you sell it with a leaking roof and an old furnace?  The pain is excruciating, and the financial hit might be too.

    First time home buyers often worry they are making a huge mistake and getting saddled with a home they no longer want or can afford. Usually, buying a home is one of the best financial decisions you can make. Read our tips to make sure you are buying the best home for you for years to come!

    First Time Home Buyer Tips

    Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage Loan

    The very first step is to get pre-approved (not just pre-qualified) for a mortgage loan.  Use a mortgage calculator for a quick estimate of payments.

    Know What You Can Afford

    There is a difference between what you get pre-approved for and what you know you can actually afford. You may technically qualify for an $1800 a month payment. But you also need to do your own budget to make sure $1800 won’t strap you.

    Research Areas

    Once you know what you are pre-approved for, and what you can realistically afford, look in areas that fit your budget. Check out our page to research the best neighborhoods to live in DC. Sperling’s Best Places has ratings and information on everything from climate and schools.

    Find a Realtor

    Find a realtor who is an expert in the area that you want to buy. Nothing beats experience and knowledge of the local market! Talk to one of our realtors for more information.

    Buy for Five Years in the Future

    Don’t buy it for today. Look out at least five years to make sure a home fits your growing needs.  Typically, you must own a house for three to five years for it to make financial sense. Selling a house six months after you bought it, is not financially sound.

    Do Your Homework

    Talk to the neighbors and visit the area on the weekends and during the week at various times. Look for visible defects and always have a professional inspection done.

    Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

    Remember the movie, “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks?  Yeah, it was funny.  But not when it happens to you. Don’t underestimate the time, effort, and money it will take to repair a fixer-upper.

    Get Qualified Estimates on Repairs

    Get estimates on repairs you aren’t comfortable doing.  Even if you are comfortable doing it, get estimates in case it’s a bigger project than you think. This will lower your stress.

    Prepare for Extra Expenses

    Insurance, taxes, HOA fees, unexpected repairs are often more expensive than imagined. Be prepared and have a cushion in case of extra expenses.

    Don’t Get Emotional

    Home buying is hugely emotional. Don’t allow overheated emotions to overcome what should be a logical decision.

    Being clear-headed and keeping your cool will help you avoid buyers regret or a wrong decision!

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