Your First Home: 5 Tips To Get You Started
Searching for your first home does not have to be a daunting, overwhelming task. Armed with the right team and a checklist of things to look for in a potential new abode, you can feel like you have a handle on this big step!
- Ask family and friends for a realtor referral
Your parents or friends have likely already purchased their first home. Who did they work with? Did they have a positive experience? Ask a trusted member of your tribe for a recommendation. And when you contact the realtor, don’t forget to mention who referred you – win-win-win for you, your realtor, and your referring partner.
- Request a mortgage broker reco from your realtor
Unless you already have a mortgage broker connection, you can invite your realtor to suggest someone who they think is fantastic. With this approach, you can feel confident knowing that your mortgage broker and realtor have previously worked together and will be comfortable communicating with each other throughout your endeavor.
- Determine your price range with your mortgage broker
Time to have an honest convo about your down payment estimate, current rent or mortgage, salary, loans, credit card debt, car payments, and any other reoccurring monthly expenses – LASIK, furniture, etc. Your broker will guide you through the discovery conversation and request the information they need in order to ballpark the price range for your home search.
- Circle back with your realtor on price and specs
With the financial boundary from your mortgage broker, you can communicate with your realtor about what you can afford and specify your preferences. If you would love a (wo)man cave to have Packer parties, mention it. If there are deal breakers, assert them. Be open minded to expanding your search to other neighborhoods if you are coming up empty handed with your initial first choice location.
- What to look for once you are touring
Yay! You and your realtor found a couple of homes that match your parameters. Grab a notebook and pen and jot down a few things when you take your first look:
- Street parking – is there any? A must have for that killer housewarming bash you are def going to throw!
- Outside noise – is the home by the railroad or highway? It might not bother you -this did not disturb me when I lived near the El in Chicago- however it could turn off your potential buyers when you are looking to resell the house in the future.
- Closet space – often not pictured in online photos so be sure to check it out once inside.
- Kitchen details – cabinets, drawers, pantry, appliances – are they updated or in good condition or would you need to replace?
- Bathroom features – similar to kitchen – how are the cabinets and sinks? Does the shower or tub need to be re-grouted? These are important particulars to look for and note on your tour.
These are just a few elemental ideas to help you get the ball rolling on your new residene! For more, check out my fellow columnist’s post on 7 tips for first time homebuyers and this guest post from a Chicago realtor on the math, money, and market trends in real estate.
Where thou art – that – is Home. ~Emily Dickinson