Buying a home for the very first time can be exciting and exhilarating as well as stressful and nerve-wracking. It’s the fulfillment of a long-held dream for many people, but because it’s their first time, they also don’t know exactly what to expect. But being forearmed with a little knowledge can make the whole process much easier to navigate – and maybe even save you some money as well. So here are our 5 tips for first time buyers in Tampa Bay.
1. Be Clear on Goals
The very first step you should take toward buying your first home is that of getting clear about your home-ownership goals. And this may be the most important of the 5 tips for first-time buyers in Tampa Bay so that you aren’t disappointed on down the line and locked into paying for a house (for many years) that you really aren’t happy with.
The first and immediate goal for many is just to stop wasting money on rent and to start building equity. But what are your goals beyond that? Will you live in the house for many years, or is it just a stepping stone to the next bigger and better home? You should determine, before you ever begin house hunting, what type of home best meets your needs and what features you want in that home.
2. Find Out How Much Mortgage You Can Qualify For
One thing you absolutely must do early on in your home-buying efforts is to find out how much mortgage you can qualify for. If you start out armed with this knowledge, you won’t waste time looking at houses out of your reach. You will also avoid that very embarrassing situation of making an offer only to find out you can’t get enough financing to actually buy the home.
3. Determine What You Can Actually Afford
Of these 5 tips for first-time buyers in Tampa Bay, this one definitely should not be overlooked. While it seems obvious, enthusiasm and excitement can often make us miss it.
Your bank may be willing to loan you $200,000 to buy a home, but in reality, you may be able to afford only a $100,000 home. For there are many other factors besides the mortgage loan amount that affects what you can actually afford. You also have to consider all your other debts and monthly payments such credit cards, car payments, health insurance, and student loans. And then there are property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and closing costs.
4. Get Ready for the Offer-and-Negotiations Process
We’d be remiss in our 5 tips for first-time buyers in Tampa Bay if we didn’t alert you to the (sometimes pretty drawn-out) negotiating process that usually accompanies an offer. You don’t want to make an offer and let it go at that – you need to try to get all you can for your home-buying dollar. So be ready to try to get the seller to pay for at least part of the closing costs and to knock some off the sale price for whatever repairs need to be made.
5. Be Prepared for Inspection Issues
Then there’s the inspection, which many times turns up problems that you (and even the seller) weren’t aware of. If the inspection turns up serious problems the seller wasn’t aware of or didn’t disclose and if you can’t come to an agreement on a way to rectify those problems, you may have to rescind your offer. Generally, though, you can get the seller to make the needed repairs or updates or negotiate a reduced sale price. Just be aware that these issues sometimes do arise late in the game.
Buying a home for the first time, then, doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it seems at first glance. Keep in mind, though, that these 5 tips for first-time buyers in Tampa Bay are just a starting point.There’s quite a bit more to know and do – and that’s where a qualified real estate professional can be a big help.