5 Tips for First Time Homebuyers
You have decided that now might be the right time to enter into the Bend real estate market. We understand that for first time homebuyers this can be an intimidating and important life experience and it can be quite overwhelming. Our Bend Premier Real Estate agents are here to help you every step of the way... from getting pre-approved for a mortgage, to finding the right neighborhood to fit your lifestyle, to negotiating the purchase, and handling all the paperwork right through to the closing. To get you started, here are some tips and advice to help you prepare for home ownership.
1. Buy Only What You Can Afford
It's easy for homebuyers to get caught up in the emotions of buying that first home, so our first piece of advice is to "buy only what you can afford". Your personal finances and ability to cover additional debt is something lenders also take very seriously. For conventional loans, lenders will generally want your overall debt to be no more than 40-45% of total income. Many financial advisors and economists believe this number should be reverted back to the 28/36 rule, where households should spend no more than 28% of their total income on housing costs - including mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance - and no more than 36% of total income on all debt. The key here is that it is great to live out the dream of home ownership, but it's important to have money left over at the end of the day to enjoy the Central Oregon lifestyle as well.
2. Get Pre-Approved for Your Home Loan
Knowing how much you can afford to spend on a new home is typically the first step in the home buying process. To get a general idea, you may want to check out our mortgage calculator, which can help you figure out what monthly mortgage payments would be based upon the price of the home, terms of the loan, percentage down payment, and the loan's interest rate. But even after you have an idea of how much home you can afford, it is important that you get "pre-approved" for a loan with a lender as most sellers will require a pre-approval letter as part of the offer. And, by all means, avoid any major financial changes such as changing jobs or financing a large purchase until after you have closed the loan.
3. Don't Forget the Extras
When you are figuring out how much home you can afford, it's important not to "forget the extras". Additional items to include in your monthly costs will be property taxes and any homeowner's association dues (which can be found in the detailed property listings on our website), and your homeowner's insurance. Also, as a first time homebuyer, you may also need to purchase appliances (e.g., washer, dryer, and refrigerator) and window coverings if your home doesn't come with them. And, especially if purchasing an older home, don't forget maintenance costs. A general rule of thumb is to set aside 1 percent of your home's value for yearly maintenance and repairs.
4. Make a List
Actually you should consider making two lists before you even start looking for your first home. List one should include items that you "must have" in your new home. For example, the number of bedrooms needed for the size of your family, a backyard for children to play in, or perhaps the geographic location such as needing to be close to work. The second is your wish list. These are things you would like to have (e.g., pool, den, etc.). For first time buyers, you probably are not going to get everything on your wish list, but it will help keep your broker and you on track during your home search.
5. Find a Good Real Estate Agent
Whether it's qualifying for a mortgage, finding the right neighborhood and home, helping to navigate the choppy waters of Bend short sales and foreclosures, or negotiating on your behalf with the sellers, our Premier Brokers are dedicated to helping you find the right home, at the best price. We want you to find the home that will make you happy and successful in your first venture into real estate ownership.
From the first interview that determines your new home requirements to the moment that you receive the keys, we can help you with the complicated process of buying your first home. Don't hesitate to contact us to find out more about how we can make the home buying process easier!
Connect with us for more information about first time home purchasing.
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This content last updated on March 23rd, 2018 at 3:44am PDT. Some properties which appear for sale on this website may subsequently have sold or may no longer be available.
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