You’ll remember your first homebuying experience, I guarantee it. When you’re looking to buy your first home, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a rush. A rush to get pre-approved, meet a realtor, and look at homes. And the process in all likelihood will be a little hectic. Sometimes you need to strike at the right time and that might mean some decision-making. A GOOD agent will take what is admittedly a stressful process and help make it less stressful – we can talk about some ways to do that. A bad agent? A bad agent will make you want to never buy a house again. And that’s sad.
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding buying a house, but there are many reasons to slow down and make sure you’re doing things right, as well. I like to tell clients “if you feel me pulling on the reins, just let off a bit and let’s find out why.” It’s a large financial decision–one of the largest many of us make. The good news is, working with a good Realtor can save you a lot of frustration.
Here are some of my tips to help you when it’s time to buy your first home:
Don’t go over-budget
Overspending is all too easy to do–just *one more* bathroom would be great. Same with that spare bedroom. When you start looking at homes, those just outside your price range will seem so much better. They’re priced that way!
One great way to prevent overspending is to know exactly what you can spend going in. And what you can spend is NOT the big number, the sales price. Sure, $200,000 is a lot of money, and most of us can’t afford to write that check in one fell swoop. But the big number doesn’t matter – it’s the monthly payment that makes the difference. Ever heard the phrase, “there’s only one way to eat an elephant”? Well, there’s only one way to pay a mortgage – one month at a time. Which brings us to…
I say it all the time. Pre-approval is a great idea and will save you time and stress as you look at homes with your Realtor. You build a house from the foundation up, shouldn’t you lay the foundation of your purchase first, as well? Once you understand what you can spend, your experience gets easier overall. I promise.
It’s the first–not the last
It’s hard to not stress yourself out–after all, this will likely be the biggest financial decision you’ve ever made. But it’s important to remember this moment is fleeting. Try to find a home that works for you now and a few years down the line. And while a good agent will not be able to eliminate that stress, they should be able to help you manage it.
A great tip is to figure out how much house you need and stick to it. Your next home in a few years can tick more boxes. You’re never going to get everything you want, so make sure this home sets you up for the future as a sound investment.
Enjoy the journey
Preparing for your first home is a great idea. Getting all your documents in order, pre-approvals done, and research is wonderful–but don’t forget to enjoy the ride. This should be fun! You’ll only buy for the first time once, and you might as well enjoy it.
It’s exciting! You’re looking at homes, deciding what you’re looking for, and maybe even falling in love with some parts of your first home. It’s a truly enjoyable journey if you allow it to be.