I currently rent my apartment, mainly because I love the flexibility of being able to pick up and move, and it’s reassuring to know someone will come fix the dishwasher, sink, or other scary appliance when it breaks (which has happened…more than once). But, even though renting is a great option for Fritz and I now, we realize we’re not making a real investment. You’ll hear people say renting is the equivalent of “throwing money away” each month, and it’s true. When I think about how much I spend each year on rent, it’s enough to make me cringe…
Many of my friends are starting to buy houses, which has encouraged me to think seriously about making the investment in the next few years. If you own your home or are currently in the hunting process, you know that buying a house is a different story – a completely different story. The journey can be long, painful and frustrating, especially if it’s your first time buying real estate.
Before I make any big decision or purchase, I like to do my research and ask around. I turned to the best, most experienced realtor I know (a.k.a., my lovely mom, Nancy), for her advice to those starting the home buying process. Read below for some of her top do’s and don’ts for a first-time home buyer (I’ll be referencing these tips soon enough).
The Do List
Take the time to review your credit report
A strong credit score and financial track record can help you more easily obtain a loan and at lower interest rates.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
It’s important to understand the various options available and become comfortable with an estimated monthly payment for budgeting purposes.
Think about your lifestyle today and in the near future
Will your home offer enough space as your family grows? Remember, your first home will more than likely not be your last.
Make a list of the features you would like in your new home and separate into “must haves” and “would love to have”
Consider number of bedrooms, baths, garage spaces, private office, etc. This will help you make choices if you have to compromise to fit your budget.
The Don’t List
Don’t rush into a decision
Take the time to review the homes that fit your criteria, but remember to keep an open mind. The best fit might not be your initial choice.
Don’t be tempted to go over your budget
Make sure to factor in the down payment you will need, closing costs, property taxes, and monthly expenses so you can make an informed decision. Also, you will want to set aside a budget for cosmetic changes in addition to saving for entertainment and vacations.
Consult the professionals
A mortgage loan officer can provide you with detailed information in order for you to understand various financing options to make an informed decision. An experienced real estate agent with years of market and negotiating experience can provide invaluable neighborhood expertise and provide you with one point of contact to view all properties of interest and negotiate the best deal possible.
Be patient and do your homework
If you plan and follow these helpful tips, you will know when you see the perfect home. And hopefully, you will enjoy the home buying process along the way.
Have you recently bought a home or are currently going through the process? What are some tips you’ve learned along the way?
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I recently visited a model home in M/I Homes’ new community in Minerva Park (Westerville area) and was so impressed with the layout and decor. The community will be home to 250 houses, and pricing ranges from $212,900 – $249,900 — perfect for first-time home buyers. To learn more about the new community, click here.
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