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Buying Your First Home

Posted on March 30, 2015

For most people, buying a house is the single biggest financial investment they’ll make.

It’s also the place you call home, where you escape from work, relax with your family and plan for your future. It’s a huge decision that you’ll likely be living with for many years, so make it a good one. Here are some ideas for how to help that happen:
Woman and white dog enjoying breakfast on an outside patio Identify Your Price Range
It would be frustrating to start looking at houses, find one you love, and then discover that you can’t afford it. Save yourself the heartache by working with a mortgage provider before you start searching. They’ll let you know how much they’ll lend you, how much of your own money you’ll need to bring to the table, and what your monthly payments will be at various mortgage levels. Even first-time homebuyers can get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan, which could be a help if the house you select has other bidders. You can also get a general idea of your price range using this tool from the National Association of Realtors. Don’t forget to consider other costs when deciding how big to go — you can sometimes roll your property tax and home insurance into your monthly mortgage, but you’ll still need to pay for your monthly utilities and possibly a Homeowners Assessment or other fees, depending on where you buy.
Answering these questions — and many more — will help your realtor start finding appropriate homes for you to view, and will help guide you as you view them.

As you view different properties, you’ll have your wish list, of course, but not every home will have everything on the list, so you’ll need to decide what’s non-negotiable, what you’d like, and what you’re willing to give up. Then you’ll be able to make an educated comparison and narrow down your choices. You may want to see some houses a second time, especially if you’re ready to make an offer on one. Be extra critical on your second viewing — this is a big investment, after all.