FAQ - What are the Best Tips for a First Time Home Buyer?

Torn between buying or renting? Interested in purchasing your first home? Buying a home for the first time can be a major decision as you are investing into your future. Check out our tips for a first time home buyer!

1. Start Saving and Get Pre-Approved.

First time home buyers should always obtain financing preapproval from a lender before house hunting to better understand how much home they can afford and what loan product will be best for their financial situation. Have your lender research grant products that might reduce closing costs. If you are house hunting in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you may be eligible for a Virginia Housing (VHDA) housing grant to help you get the home of your dreams.

Always consider the cost of items that might need repair on the home you are considering buying before you make an offer. You need to be comfortable with what would be needed after closing. For example, a home with an older roof may be in great condition now (no leaks) but may require replacement in the next few years. Decide if that is something you can take on. If not, look for a property that has already done some updating to siding, utility items (like water heaters) and structural aspects of the home. Start saving as soon as possible and plan on putting aside money for the down payment and closing costs. The sooner you start putting some money aside, little by little, the sooner it will start to add up and help in purchasing your first home.

2. Make a List of Wants vs. Needs in a Home.  

Look back at your previous experiences in homes, what did you like and dislike? It is important to ask yourself  the following questions,

  •       Is this a forever home, investment, future rental, etc.?
  •       Do you prefer a one level or two-story home?
  •       What do you look for in a neighborhood?
  •       Think of commute, what is your max radius for getting to work?
  •       What are must-haves in your next home?
  •       Are your expectations realistic?

It is important to write down everything you are looking for in your next home and then label them as wants or needs. Create your own home buying check list and sit down with your realtor to review it. A need is what you absolutely are looking for in your next home and it is a deal breaker if the home doesn’t have your need. Your wants are extra features that the home might have that won’t be a deal breaker. As you go through your home search, revisit your list and see how the homes are meeting your expectations. Your realtor will be able to advise you on how the current housing market will meet your expectations. 

3. Find a Top-Notch Real Estate Partner.

It is really important to pick the right realtor for your first purchase. You are essentially picking your representative that will guide you throughout the entire home buying process.  Make sure to research, read reviews and set up an interview with them. Even if you are looking into new construction it is important to seek out representation from a realtor. You can find more advice on the importance of using a realtor for new construction on our blog. 

4. Attend the Home Inspection.

Just as it is important to hire the right realtor, a home inspection is a key step in the home buying process. In the long run, it can pay for itself because it can uncover any unwanted surprises. If you want to know the detailed condition of the home overall, a home inspection will give you that overview to educate you on your purchase and current/upcoming repairs that will be needed on the home. That is something that is great to know upfront before the purchase is finalized. If there are any issues or red flags, you can take it to the seller to see if they will fix it before closing. A realtor will be able to guide you through the process and make sure you are at ease with your home purchase. If you would like to learn more about home inspections, check out this post. 

5. Seal the Deal & Get Insured.

Work with your realtor throughout the negotiation process and celebrate when closing day comes! Congratulate yourself on being a first time homeowner. It is an exciting journey that you worked hard for it. To protect your home, most of the time, you will have selected an insurance plan prior to closing day. Make sure to know your insurance plan and seek additional insurance if needed. 

If you are interested in purchasing your first home, the Rick Cox Realty Group is here to help. We have had vast experience working with first time home buyers in guiding them through the process and providing detailed information on the area.  Reach out to us for a consultation at 804-920-1728 or at rick@rickcoxrealtygroup.com


Posted by Rick Cox on


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