First Time Home Buyer's Guide by Swapna Chakraborty

November 13, 2023

Buying a home is a significant life achievement and an exciting process. However, the home-buying process can be daunting and overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. To make the process smoother and more manageable, it's essential to have a clear plan and strategy. In this blog post, we'll explore eight steps to buying your dream home, from financing to closing the deal. We’ll also highlight common pitfalls to avoid and provide useful tips to help you find your perfect home.

1. Financing

Before you start house hunting, figure out how much you can afford to spend. Consider your down payment, monthly mortgage payments, and other expenses like property taxes and maintenance. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval letter from a lender shows sellers that you are a serious buyer. It also gives you an idea of how much you can borrow and at what interest rate. And remember, always go to your existing financier first, as they will be inclined to give you competitive mortgage rates as an existing client.

2. Find a realtor

A real estate agent can help you find properties that fit your needs and budget. They can also provide valuable advice on the local market and negotiating with sellers. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about paperwork and application deadlines because your realtor can take care of that for you. At MRM, we specialize in matching first time home buyers with their dream homes.

3. Decide on your priorities

Make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves in a home. This will help you narrow down your search and avoid wasting time on properties that don't meet your needs. It should include the non-negotiable features you require in a home. This could include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a certain location, or specific amenities such as a garage or outdoor space. Your nice-to-haves list can include features that would be desirable but aren't essential, such as a pool or updated kitchen. Remember to remain flexible and open to new possibilities, but having a clear list of priorities can help make the home-buying process much smoother.

4. Research neighbourhoods

Consider factors like proximity to schools, public transportation, shopping, and amenities when choosing a neighborhood. Visit the area at different times of day to get a sense of what it's like. Somethings you might want to include in your research are the state of public transport, crime statistics and resident demographics.  Find homes for sale in your desired neighborhood here!

5. Attend open houses

Going to open houses is a great way to see what's available on the market and get a feel for different neighborhoods. It also allows you to meet real estate agents who can be valuable resources throughout the home-buying process. Additionally, you may come across properties that you hadn't considered before or that have unique features that you didn't know you wanted. Don't be afraid to take your time at each open house and really explore the space.  Take notes and ask questions to help you remember each property.

6. Make an offer

Work with your real estate agent to come up with a strategy that will help you get the best possible price for the property, you like. This will help you avoid overpaying for a property and ensure that you don't get in over your head financially. They can also help you negotiate with the seller and ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed.

7. Get a home inspection

A home inspection can identify any issues with the property that you may not have noticed. This can help you avoid costly repairs down the line. This is a crucial step in evaluating the health of your potential home and a worthwhile investment. Your realtor should be able to put you in touch with credible inspectors.

8. Watch out for scams

Unfortunately, there are scammers who target home buyers. One thing to watch out for is unsolicited emails or phone calls offering deals that seem too good to be true. These scams often promise quick and easy financing or low-interest rates, but in reality, they can end up costing you thousands of dollars in fees and interest. To avoid falling victim to these scams, it is essential to work with reputable lenders and real estate agents. Take the time to research and choose a professional who has a proven track record of success. It is also a good idea to ask for references from friends or family members who have recently purchased a home.

9. Enjoy your new home

Once you've closed on your new home, take some time to celebrate! Moving can be stressful, but it's also an exciting new chapter in your life. Remember, buying a home is a big investment, so it's important to do your research and make an informed decision. Happy house hunting!

Buying a home can be a long and complicated process, but with the right preparation and guidance, it can also be a rewarding one. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you'll be better equipped to navigate the home-buying process and avoid common pitfalls. Remember, it's essential to do your research, work with reputable professionals, and stay within your budget. With patience and perseverance, you'll find the perfect home for you and your family. Good luck and happy house hunting!