Advice for First Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home is an exciting and stressful time. There are a lot of papers to sign and details to attend to but, in the end, you wind up with your piece of the American dream. Before you decide on which home represents the home of your dreams, there are some things that you should take care of first.

Clean Up Your Credit

There is a federal law which states that all consumers are entitled to one free and full credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Those agencies are:

  • Trans Union
  • Experian
  • Equifax

Contact each of these reporting agencies and request your free credit report. When you get your report, sit down and read it carefully. If any of your personal information is wrong, then use the dispute process outlined on the report to get it fixed. If you see a credit account that does not look familiar, then dispute it. If the credit agency confirms that the account is real, then you will want to take the necessary steps to protect your identity.

Cleaning up your credit report makes it easier for the lender to confirm your information and it can also get you a lower mortgage interest rate. A drop of a single point in your interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the course of the loan.

Make a List of Amenities

You are preparing to spend a lot of money on a home, so you should not have to settle for something that is not what you wanted. The problem that many new home buyers run into is that they are not quite sure exactly what it is they want in a home. That is why you should sit down and create a list of amenities and features that you want.

Your budget may prevent you from getting every amenity and feature on your list, but you can at least create a list that you can give to real estate agent as a guide. You should include features such as the proximity to schools, access to stores, and whether you want to be near a hospital or not.

Choose a Good Agent

The real estate agent you choose to work with can make a huge difference on what kind of home you find and what kind of buying price you get. Most new home buyers just call the agent whose name appears all over town on real estate signs, but that may not be the best approach.

Look At a Number of Houses

A good real estate agent will find you nice homes to look at in your price range and it will be tempting to put in an offer on the first house you see. But the search for a home should take a few weeks and take you to several different places before you make your final decision. Most home buyers do not find the home they are looking for in the first week or two of their search. You never know when that perfect home will hit the market and give you the deal you have been looking for. Take your time and look at several homes before you make your final decision.

Ask a Lot of Questions

Can you tell how old a roof is by just looking at it? Unless you are an experienced contractor, you cannot tell the age of a home just by looking. Have a list of questions you want answered about each property you look at to help you make your decision.

You can ask about the age of the roof, the flooding situation in the basement, and whether or not the appliances are part of the sale. If you are not comfortable with the seller's answers, then move on to a different home.

Bring an Expert with You

Before you sign that purchase agreement, you should have a professional contractor look the house over to let you know what may be wrong with it. Even though a home inspection is part of the mortgage process, many buyers will still have their own inspector go through the house to give a separate report.

You will be spending thousands of dollars on this home, so take the time to have it looked over thoroughly. You do not want to get the keys to the home and then find problems.

First time home buyers are usually in a hurry to take a look at houses in their price range. If you want to get a good deal on a home, then you need to temper that enthusiasm and take the time to conduct a proper home search.