If you’re buying your first home, whether it’s in Catonsville, Ellicott City or any other community, you’re in for an exciting ride – but what can you do to make the whole transaction successful? Check out these seven first-time buyer tips to help you land your dream home as easily as possible.
7 First-Time Buyer Tips to Help You Land Your Dream Home in Catonsville (or Anywhere Else)
Before you start searching for your dream home, you’ll probably want to find a local REALTOR®. There are plenty of great reasons to find an agent early in the process, but one of the best is that it doesn’t cost buyers anything to work with a real estate agent. The seller pays the real estate agents involved in a transaction, so there’s absolutely no reason you wouldn’t want to have one of these experts by your side from beginning to end. After you’ve found a real estate agent, use these seven tips to help you find your dream home:
Get loan preapproval
Look at loan products
Start thinking long-term
Start your home search online
Research neighborhoods to find the best fit
Schedule appointments to see homes you like
Be prepared to make an offer quickly
Here’s a closer look at each.
#1. Get loan preapproval.
Before you can start the process of buying a home, you need to know how much you can afford – and you need to be ready to pounce on your dream house when you find it. That means you need to start the process with mortgage preapproval. Preapproval is different from prequalification. Prequalification is simply a bank saying, “It looks like you’ll probably qualify for this much money.” However, in order to get preapproved, you have to show your lender how much money you bring in, how much you have, how much you pay in taxes, and what your credit score looks like. Your lender will issue you a loan preapproval letter, which you can use to zero in on your price range. You’ll also use it when you make an offer on a home.
#2. Look at loan products.
There are several loan products available, and different lenders may have different packages. There are overarching types, such as adjustable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages, which you should look at while you’re determining what’s best for your needs.
#3. Start thinking long-term.
Make a list of must-haves for your next home. When you’re house-hunting, it pays to look for the home you’ll need in 5 to 10 years – not necessarily just what you need today. You may want to consider the number of bedrooms, the size of the backyard and the size of your garage if you’re looking at where your life is likely to be in a decade.
#4. Research neighborhoods to find the best fit.
If you don’t already know which neighborhood you’d like to live in, now’s a great time to start researching. You can ask your REALTOR about particular neighborhoods (just remember that he can’t tell you if schools are “good” or “bad,” but you can look at schools’ grades and testing records; likewise, he can’t tell you about a neighborhood’s crime rates, which you can look up online, or what the demographic makeup of a neighborhood is).
It’s often a good idea to drive through communities that interest you during various times of day. You can check out traffic, see if there are lots of children at the playgrounds or in front yards, and see whether a neighborhood is quiet or busy.
#5. Start your home search online.
When you know your budget (from your preapproval letter), you can start searching for homes for sale in Catonsville. You can zero in on home features you want, numbers of bedrooms or location. You can also search only in specific neighborhoods that interest you.
Listing courtesy of Keller Williams Flagship of Maryland
#6. Schedule appointments to see homes you like.
When you find a home (or several homes) you’re interested in seeing, call your REALTOR and ask him to set up showings for you. Your agent will schedule tours at times that work for you.
#7. Be prepared to make an offer quickly.
If you find your dream home, your REALTOR will probably let you know that you shouldn’t wait too long to make an offer. Remember, if you really love a home, there’s a good chance that other people really love it, too – and that could mean that you’re going to face some competition with other offers.
Are You Buying a Home in Catonsville?
We can help you find your dream home in Catonsville. Call us at 443-955-1227 to find out how! If it’s easier, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you right away.