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Buying your first home can be an incredibly exciting time. However, it requires a huge commitment and a sizable investment. That’s why I want to share my three top tips to help first-time homebuyers protect themselves during this crucial period:
1. Know what you can afford
Your mortgage is only a part of what you will need to pay when you buy a home. Homeownership comes with plenty of other expenses, including closing costs, taxes, property insurance, maintenance costs, and homeowner association fees.
Once you have a clear idea of how much all of these items will cost, you can compare it to your current monthly expenses. Then you can figure out the kind of home you can honestly afford without getting carried away and without getting bogged down in debt.
2. Choose your lender wisely
Choosing a lender is not something you should base only on the lowest rate. A competent and trustworthy lender will offer you advice on how to improve your credit and also help you take advantage of special homebuyer programs that might benefit you.
But how do you find the right lender specifically for you? It’s often best to get recommendations from friends who have already worked with a lender or from a real estate agent you trust.
3. Don’t overlook the details
There are many details that go into buying a home, and missing any of them can be a costly mistake. I always advise buyers to get a professional inspection done on their home, separate from the appraisal. An inspection will set you back about $300, but it can save you thousands of dollars down the line, and it can even prevent you from making a decision to buy a home that you would later regret.
A second example is understanding the fine print in the various contracts you will be signing. If there’s anything that isn’t clear to you, talk to your real estate agent and have it spelled out.
The process of buying a home can be intimidating, and that’s why professional real estate agents are there to help. These three quick tips are only the start of the things you need to watch out for when buying your first home.