We recently got married and were excited for the next step in our life..buying a house! I thought it would take a month or two and we would be all moved out of our apartment. What. A. Joke…6 months in and 2 offers later and we are still house hunting…Shopping for a house that fits your needs and budget can be an exciting and stressful experience – especially for first time home buyers. Read on to hear about my experience and advice for those entering the highly competitive house buying market.
Know Your Budget– First you need to determine how much you can can afford on a monthly mortgage. Take your income and deduct any fixed expenses to see what you are left with. Once you figure out how much you can afford on a mortgage you will then need to meet with a loan officer. This process is known as a pre-approval. It helps your offer stand out when you finally find a home. It also helps you to avoid buying a house you can’t afford. Lastly, don’t forget to leave room in your budget for moving expenses, closing costs, and any renovation projects.
Meet with a Realtor- There are several ways you can find a realtor that works for you. My advice is to ask your friends and family who they’ve had success with. Realtors will set you up on a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS website makes it easy for home buyer’s to locate homes they’d like to see. A realtor can pull up all the homes that are for sale on MLS in a given neighborhood and can then schedule viewings. On the site you will find price of the house, see pictures, and even tax records. You can also use popular search websites such as Zillow and Realtor.com to help aid in your search. Lastly, there’s no charge to view any of these listings.
Make a List of your Needs & Wants- Write down what you will need in a house and the things would want. Ask yourself how many bedrooms/bathrooms you can live with and get an idea of the amount of space you will need. My husband and I decided we needed at least 3 bedrooms (1 big enough for our King bed), 2 bathrooms, and a spacious kitchen. Our wants included a backyard for our dog, a master bath, garage, and porch.
Arrange Open Houses-Start going to open houses in the neighborhood you are going to buy in. I have noticed the pictures on the MLS don’t necessarily look like the house in real life. Most of the time they were professionally photographed and leave out any areas that need work. Lastly, I recommend bringing a tape measure to any showing so you can measure bedrooms, basements, etc.
Make an Offer-Well this is the exciting part! Once you’ve found a home that fits most of your needs and is in your price range, make an offer through your real estate agent. They will submit the offer to the sellers. If the offer is accepted you will start going through the inspection process. If not you will be on to the next house..
In Conclusion- Unfortunately right now the market is extremely competitive so we have lost 2 properties we have offered on. Don’t be surprised if you are seeing sellers walk away with $50K+ profit on their house. It’s hard not to be discouraged (especially when I have no patience & we are living in a box) but continue to check the MLS daily and go to open houses.
P.S. If you’re selling your house in the near future (Columbus area) please let me know lol (but seriously).. email@example.com
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