Looking to buy your first home but don’t know where to start? Excited about owning a place but have no knowledge of how real estate works? Don’t worry, RealtyHop’s got your back! There are so many things you should keep in mind when it comes to homeownership, and we will introduce them in a series of blog posts. Today, let’s look at the first five tips that will help you unlock the door to homeownership!
1. Think about the future, not the present.
When it comes to buying, it’s more about what you’d need in the next two to five years, not where you are now in life. For instance, if you plan to have kids in the next couple of years, make sure that you buy in a neighborhood suitable for families and kids. You wouldn’t want to bring your toddler out and only see senior citizens sitting in the park.
2. Find the right neighborhood and establish your criteria for a house.
Once you’ve figured out the right neighborhood, you can then start thinking about the house. Keep in mind that shopping for a house is not like shopping for clothes in SoHo. To avoid spending too much time looking at the wrong house or going back and forth with your broker or the seller, you need to establish your criteria. Go to listing sites like RealtyHop, and search based on neighborhoods. It will give you a good sense of what kinds of property are out there, and help you set up the criteria.
3. Evaluate your financial situation and take action if necessary before starting your search.
A big part of buying a home is about your personal finance, especially in a seller’s market. With housing inventory at its historical low and increasing demand in most markets, it is now harder for buyers to find a home they love and strike a deal. Therefore, if you are looking to buy, you should first find out how much you can afford. Check out your credit score, clear out old debt, dispute any errors in your credit report, and find out your debt ratio if you are carrying a loan, whether a mortgage or student loan.
4. Become an expert in mortgages, grants, and programs.
Carrying a mortgage is a serious deal. Buyers almost always need to carry mortgages unless you have incredible liquidity and can do an all-cash purchase of a property. Therefore, before you set out on a house-hunting journey, you should become educated on types of mortgage, interest rates, and what offers you might be able to get. In addition, carefully research grants and first-time homebuyer programs – if you’re qualified, these certainly make homeownership a lot easier!
5. Don’t use up all of your cash.
While buying a house is a big deal and might require you to put in a lot of cash, you need to be strategic. Without enough cash, you will only struggle even you own the most beautiful apartment in the world. You have to factor in ongoing expenses, such as property taxes, insurance, fees (condo fees can be a lot in the city), etc.
In the coming few weeks, we will have a series of blog posts that crack down the secret to homeownership. Stay tuned, homebuyers!