Five Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers
Here at Great Midwest Bank, we’re always excited to assist first-time home buyers during their search for the perfect place to call home. While the road to owning your first home can be a long and winding one, the pride you’ll feel when the papers are signed is worth the journey.
The benefits to owning a home are countless – it’s a good investment that will allow you to build equity, a strong credit history and so much more. Your first home may be where you raise your family. Homeownership offers you several intangibles that can be difficult to recognize until you move in, meet the neighbors and embrace that sense of community.
With over eight decades of experience, we wanted to pass along five tips for first-time home buyers as they embark on their newest life chapter.
1. Don’t go it alone.
From connecting with long-lost friends to having access to thousands of dog pictures, the internet has made everything more convenient. Because of that, it’s easy to assume that finding a lender online or viewing online home listings is the way to go about buying your first home. While the internet is a great tool, nothing can beat a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone you trust. Asking your family, friends or a well-trusted advisor for a few realtor or lender contacts will pay off in the long run.
Experienced professionals will make your first-time home buying process seamless; these seasoned vets have most likely seen it all, which means that they can spot red flags throughout your home-buying process that might otherwise cost you time and money in the long run. Considering the bumps you’ll encounter during the emotional home-buying process, it’s best to have someone by your side who comes highly recommended.
2. Non-traditional credit matters.
There’s no denying that making consistent payments on student loans or credit cards matter. But non-traditional credit can also make a big difference, too. Monthly payments for rent, car insurance and utilities show your reliability to lenders as well.
Money for the down payment on your first home isn’t the only thing you should set aside. Be sure to have enough cash to cover the inevitable repairs and improvements you’ll want and need to make. Making a house your home will bring you immense satisfaction. Consider a limited down payment so you can keep some cash for this purpose. Or, budget a regular amount for reserves.
4. Learn how to be handy.
Investing in a great set of tools can ultimately save you thousands of dollars in repairs. Also, don’t hesitate to ask neighbors to share theirs with you, too. If it’s a one-off project, you can save money by borrowing. With the internet full of convenient “how-to” videos, all it takes is a little courage and elbow grease. And while you may make some mistakes along the way, be sure to know when it’s time to bring in an expert. Home renovation loans are also an excellent option for projects that are a little too big for the tool box.
5. Consider a duplex.
This idea may be scary for a first-time home buyer. But, even if you don’t think you want to be a landlord and live next to other tenants, it’s not as difficult as you think. Ask your trusted realtor or lender for advice and you’ll get plenty of help along the way. And the best part is you’ll save on your monthly housing cost and the leftover funds can be set aside for ongoing repairs and improvements, instead of coming from your pocket.
It’s normal to be a little nervous as a first-time home buyer; buying your first home is a complex process with a lot of moving parts. Great Midwest Bank offers valuable resources to all first time homebuyers, to help you make good decisions along the way.