Jim Valentine: Buying your first home
You may have had a roof over your head for many years, but there is nothing like owning the roof, the walls, the dirt – owning your own home. A lot is made of property ownership and that can scare some people away from taking the first step. There are so many benefits that you should really look carefully at your situation if you don’t currently own real estate. The security of knowing you won’t have to move at the whim of a landlord is invaluable, but there are also the huge tax benefits and investment benefits in addition to the security of ownership.
Don’t let the unknown scare you if you are unfamiliar with how to buy a home. The process is not unlike buying a car, or anything else of importance to you other than it may have an additional zero or two in its value. Most people are afraid of being able to afford home ownership. Surprisingly enough, with interest rates as low as they are, and the availability of low down or assisted down programs, buyers may find themselves paying very near the same amount they are paying for rent with little or no down.
If you are curious about home ownership, you can explore the possibility without any cost other than a little time. The first step is to call a lender. Make sure you have a good one, seasoned, trustworthy and caring. The lender will listen to your financial situation and tell you what you can qualify for and how much you will need to close an escrow at that amount. There are some variables that your real estate agent will be able to help with that may change things, i.e., ability to get seller contributions, but you will be off to a good start.
Knowing what you can borrow, and the knowledge that you can, in fact, borrow that amount, you will be ready to go shopping. The next step is to secure a good agent. Don’t think you have to go with your friend’s sister-in-law’s brother’s father-in-law’s new wife’s daughter to keep peace in the family. You are hiring a professional to help you with a big decision and you should be comfortable and confident with your selection of agent.
Your agent should ask you questions about your wants and needs. She should be able to explain how the process works so you have a working understanding of what you can expect. This is not unlike going to an auto mechanic and having them explain what is going on with your car. You can grasp the concept of what is going on when they speak, but you likely can’t repeat it and you surely can’t do the repair yourself. Real estate is much like that. You will hear a lot about a wide variety of topics during the selection, purchase and escrow process.
You will start selecting homes to look at and then the games begin. The market is dynamic and competition steady out there today. Be patient and don’t compromise your wants and needs too quickly. It is a game of patience so look, work diligently, be responsive to your agent, make sure your agent is responsive to you, and the right home will come into your life. Make your offer and the rest should be automatic given that you have been prequalified, your agent knows what you want and need, and it is a process full of checks and balances most of which serve to protect you, i.e., appraisal, inspections, disclosures, etc.
My advice: Assuage your curiosity and find out what you can do when it comes to buying a home. You might just find yourself in a wonderful and very fulfilling and satisfying position of home ownership. You can remodel, landscape, add structures, and more, to your heart’s content enjoying financial rewards along the way.
Home ownership is called “the American Dream” for a reason. Find out why and live the dream! It’s easy when you take the first step and initiate the process.
When it comes to choosing professionals to assist you with your real estate needs… Experience is Priceless! Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-3704. firstname.lastname@example.org