Guest Blogger #934, Entry #2312, April 18, 2013
So you’re a first-time home buyer looking for tips, some dos and don’ts perhaps, to help you navigate your way across some pretty unfamiliar territory. No problem. The Internet is stuffed full of tips. The biggest problem you’ll likely encounter is deciding how many you want…10 tips, six tips, five tips, three? You get the picture. Then there’s that other problem – whether or not to trust the information source in the first place.
Image via: Dave Hubler Photography
Therefore, a good start has to be Microsoft, with its excellent real estate channel. The article ‘7 tips for first-time home buyers’ is worth reading carefully, not least because the information is provided by the highly trusted Bankrate, Inc., the Web’s leading aggregator of financial data.
Through its flagship website, Bankrate.com, the company provides free rate information to consumers on more than 300 financial products, from mortgage loans to credit cards, new and used automobile loans, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, checking and ATM fees, home equity loans and online banking fees.
Compare other homes for sale in the area:
The first tip suggested is so obvious you might not even have considered it. But don’t worry too much about that. You’re a novice after all! Do a check on the selling prices of similar homes in your area through any of the gazillion websites likely thrown up by a Google, Yahoo or a Bing search.
Consider what you can afford. Common sense, right? There are many online mortgage calculators which will give you some kind of idea of the monthly repayments involved. But use the calculator along with MSN Real Estate’s home affordability calculator, to add in additional costs such as taxes and home insurance. So that’s tip two and three.
Image via: Lands End Development – Designers & Builders
Determine how much you’ll spend in closing costs:
The fourth tip suggests finding out how much you’ll likely pay in closing costs such as origination fees charged by the lender and title and settlement fees. Tip number five suggests looking at your budget and determining how a house may or may not fit into it. Fannie Mae recommends you spend no more than 28% of your income on housing costs.
The last two tips recommend talking to real estate agents in the area to gauge the local climate, and considering the bigger picture.
Bankrate adds, “While buying a house is a great way to build wealth, maintaining your investment can be labour-intensive and expensive. When unexpected costs for new appliances, roof repairs and plumbing problems crop up, there’s no landlord to turn to, and these costs can drain your bank account.”
Image via: David Whelan
That’s seven good tips to get you thinking. Meanwhile, Forbes have a few more worth considering including advising first-time home buyers to cough up a good 20% down payment in order to immediately add equity to the house and lower monthly payments.
Be realistic about costs, says Morgan Brennan at Forbes. However much you make, don’t shop for a home that will gobble up most of your income each month. In addition to mortgage and principal payments, buying a home means paying for insurance, maintenance and real estate taxes.
Don’t cut corners with home inspections:
And finally, don’t cut corners on inspections. Always cough up the extra cash for a good home inspection, especially if you’re buying a foreclosed home.
So there you have it. As you can see, there is no shortage of high-quality tips for first-time home buyers providing you know where to look. Although moving is never easy, you can at least reduce some of the stress by conducting a little research before taking that first exciting step.
For more home buying & selling tips on Stagetecture, click here.