The Biggest Investment of Your Life: What You Need to Know about Purchasing Your First Home


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Mar 28, 2014

According to US Census data*, homeownership rates have steadily increased in the United States over the last century. In 1910, approximately 46% of families owned a home. By 2000, that number had increased to more than 66%. In some states, nearly three-quarters of all adult citizens own homes. Chances are, if you do not currently own a home or you have not begun searching for a home to buy, you will do so in the next few years. The real estate market tends to ebb and flow, making housing one of the most solid investments available.

If you have made the decision to purchase your first home, what do you need to know?

Working with a Real Estate Agent can be a Smart Move
As a first time homebuyer, you might be tempted to “go it alone.” You have no house to list and sell, so your main priorities are finding a home, making an offer, and securing a mortgage. It is possible to do this without the assistance of a real estate agent and there is tremendous access now through the internet. However you can use an agent to help focus your search so you are only looking at homes that fit your wishes, desires and absolute necessities.

Most new homebuyers are under the impression they must pay an agent a fee to help them buy a home. The truth is the buyer’s agent is paid from the commission of the seller’s agent. So while you might think you do not need an agent to help you buy a home, you can benefit from an agent’s expertise and it will not cost you any money. However you must be aware that the real estate agent represents the seller’s interests. Therefore it VERY important that before you sign a binder or offer you consult an attorney.

Finding the Right Home Can be Tough
If you have begun your search and have yet to find the home of your dreams, do not despair. Finding a perfect home is nearly impossible. Most homebuyers are forced to compromise, but smart homebuyers know what compromises to make and which things to hold firm on. If you are able to find a home you like in your price range in your ideal location, consider yourself very lucky. Expecting to find a home with every feature on your list or haggling over small cosmetic issues can extend your home search and cost you a home that makes you happy.

Mortgage Pre-Approval Should Be Your First Step
Many new buyers assume they should begin their home buying process by searching for a home. Though it does not hurt to browse homes on the Internet, you should apply for mortgage pre-approval before you begin your official search. Not only does this allow you to know what you can afford, it lets sellers know you are serious and capable of buying their home. It is also important to understand your own budget and the total costs involved in purchasing your new home.

Importance of Having an Attorney
Purchasing a home for most people is the single biggest investment they will make during their lifetime. It is important to have an experienced attorney guide you through the process. An attorney will represent you through negotiating all the terms of the contract to purchase the property, the signing of the contract through the actual closing of title, when all your mortgage papers are signed and the house officially becomes your home. There are many things involved in type of transaction from beginning to end so it is important that you have an experienced attorney at your side that you trust and feel comfortable with.

First time home buying can be stressful, but it is also very exciting. By planning ahead and making smart choices, your home buying experience can be one that you remember fondly.

If you need help in this area or have questions feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.