If you are transitioning from renter to homeowner, the prospect of making such a large investment may be exciting, while at the same time overwhelming. Move In Group with Keller Williams Realty has put together some easy steps to make this process as smooth and headache free as possible.
1. Understand the home buying process.
Educate yourself. Find a local homebuyer seminar that you can attend or research for one online. Realtor.com has great information and handy tools to help you. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development website (www.hud.gov) has an entire section devoted to homebuyers, with the common questions of first-time homebuyers, mortgage and home-buying program information, and useful tools for you to download.
2. Ask questions!
Above all, remember, knowledge is key. No question is a silly question. Your Move In Group Real Estate professional is trained not only in typical real estate fundamentals associated with being a REALTOR®, but is also taught about asset protection, how to best maximize ROI and cashflow, and how to minimize your downside risks, thus making them an invaluable resource throughout the purchase process. Making smart home buying decisions will make the home-buying process less scary and your first home purchase a rewarding experience.
There are many facets and intricacies of the home buying process, so although you may gain a basic knowledge, you will still have questions. Don’t hesitate to let your Move In Group REALTOR® know that you are new to the process. He or she will expect you to have questions at each step—from house hunting to making an offer to the closing. Remember, this is one of the largest financial transactions of your life, so you want to have a clear understanding and be absolutely comfortable with “what’s going on” with your property purchase.
3. Work with an active Agent.
Finding the right agent to work with you every step of the way is a critical step in the journey toward home ownership. At The Move In Group, we pride ourselves on the quality and integrity of our agents, and we know we have given them the best training and resources available to help you at this exciting time.
4. Take a lot of deep breaths.
Don’t feel like you have to make an offer on the first home you inspect. Buyers, especially first-timers, may be impressed by the first two or three homes they view. Look at a good selection. List the positives and negatives about each home. Narrow the prospects to three or four and then return for a closer look. When you decide to make a bid on a specific property, work with your real estate professional to get all of your questions answered before making an offer. But don’t wait too long to make an offer. The longer you wait, the greater the chance other prospective buyers may place offers, making it harder for you to negotiate a deal you want.
5. Focus on your price range.
Before beginning your home search, make sure you get pre-qualified for a loan, to get an idea of how much you may be able to borrow. Without it, you really have no power to move forward in a transaction, unless you plan to buy all cash. Use this information as a starting point in determining your price range. Then take into consideration other factors that will affect your monthly budget once you are a homeowner, such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and maintenance.
6. Plan ahead.
Think about personal changes you are planning in the next five to seven years. For instance, are you starting a family, and if so, is the home large enough and will it continue to be? If this will be a starter home or if you think you’ll be relocating in a few years to something bigger, you will probably want to pay closer attention to appreciation and resale values in the neighborhood. If a double income is necessary to qualify for financing and to make your mortgage payments, do your future plans include enough income to continue making payments if one of you is no longer working?
7. Focus on location.
Don’t just focus on the house itself. Walk or drive the area. Examine the community and schools. Many Tampa Bay area towns have extremely different and diverse neighborhoods, even though they may be right next to each other in the same town. Does the neighborhood suit your lifestyle? Is the area convenient for commuting, are the street and home well-maintained and close to work, stores, and schools? Find out about zoning and what new construction is planned on surrounding vacant land in the immediate area. Ask your Move In Group agent to compare different areas in the neighborhood so you can arrive at a well-formed decision. Check our Neighborhoods pages for an overview, crime, demographic, and school information, as well as our team’s personal recommendations!