Homeownership is a goal of many people.
To get to that goal there are several things you should do and several things to consider.
THINGS TO DO TO REACH YOUR GOAL
When you make a plan to get yourself to your goal of homeownership, learn about first-time homebuyer savings accounts. This account, like any other, is trackable and you can see how you are building your savings toward a home purchase. NerdWallet.com has a list of of these programs available in each state and the District of Columbia.
The first step you should make in purchasing a house, before contacting a real estate agent, is meeting with a mortage loan banker who can tell you what kind of mortgage program you qualify for and what your spending limits look like.
You might find that you currently don’t qualify, but the loan officer can advise you of the steps to take that will qualify you. Check with your bank if they have a mortgage department. You already have a relationship with that bank so talk to them first about helping you purchase a home.
Search the internet for homes in your price range. If you’re purchasing in the town you currently live, drive around and familiarize yourself with neighborhoods if you haven’t already. If you have to commute to work, decide what neighborhoods are close enough that you can afford. Concerned about demographics? Search the web for information, call the local police department, contact a city or county representative. Follow the city or town’s social media pages.
Interview a few local real estate agents. Use word of mouth referrals from friends and co-workers to find your agent. Referral companies charge agents a large fee to help you. You get to pick from a pool of people who agree to pay it. Wouldn’t you rather pick from someone with a personal reference from a friend?
You’ll want to be able to work with the agent your choose and feel comfortable with them handling your personal information. Interview at least one who is C2EX Endorsed and/or has completed the e-PRO course to find out their point of difference. C2EX is the National Association of Realtors’ Committment to Excellence program. e-PRO is a certification course teaching Realtors how to protect your private information in a digital world. They are optional continuing education classes.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
As a first-time homebuyer, you will want to have a real estate agent to represent you through a transaction for the following reasons:
- Your agent can point out homes that you might miss on your search. Maybe the listing doesn’t say much about the property but your agent has been inside and feels it is something for you to consider.
- He or she belongs to an association with protocols for handling COVID-19. Whether your or the seller are concerned, agents have a responsibility to follow what you both feel is necessary.
- Agents are skilled in negotiating purchase pricing and earnest money, and navigating disclosures, inspections, appraisal issues, and the closing process.
- An agent that is not representing the seller, will have your best interest in their care so don’t be too quick to call the agent listed on the sign in front of your dream home or visit a new construction development without your agent.
- Real estate agents can work with FSBO sellers, too. Don’t call a FSBO, let your agent do it for you. The FSBO seller is going it alone; you shouldn’t have to.
- Homebuying is emotional; it’s the biggest purchase most people make and agents understand that. He or she is on your side and can help you with the joy, frustration, fear, and excitement that a first-time homebuyer can go through during a purchase.
- Agents make great, life-long friends.
The National Association of Realtors has a First-time Homebuyers Guide that you can watch and listen to with numerous resources to help you navigate the process to become a homeowner.
June in National Homeownership Month. Best wishes reaching your goal.
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors BOF-Oxford 2092 Old Taylor Road #101, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 firstname.lastname@example.org