Buying a home for the first time is a major milestone in many people’s lives. They stop paying rent and start building equity. It’s an important first step towards establishing roots in a new community.
There are a lot of things to consider. The entire ordeal can be overwhelming at times. However, you don’t need to panic. Buying a home in Illinois can be tricky, but it definitely can be done. All it takes is some time and careful planning.
Here are a few helpful tips for first-time homebuyers:
- 1. Think about what you want.
- 2. Look at your finances.
- 3. Start saving now.
- 4. Talk to a lender to get pre-approved for a loan.
- 5. Start attending open houses.
- 6. Evaluate your mortgage options.
- 7. Choose the right real estate agent.
- 8. Consider neighborhoods.
- 9. Think about your long term goals.
- 10. When the time is right, make an offer!
- Have questions or want to see home in person?
- Call or Text Chris 630-234-1770
1. Think about what you want.
Once you’ve decided to buy a house, it’s time to start looking! Take some time to see what’s available.
Think about what kind of house you want, what features you’d like to have and where you’d like to live.
From there, you can search real estate listings to see what’s available in those neighborhoods.
This can give you a realistic view of what’s available and what the typical home you’re thinking of is selling for.
2. Look at your finances.
Now that you know what’s available, it’s time to see what you can actually afford. Now is a good time to review your finances.
If you have any loans or other outstanding debt, you should make an effort to pay down those obligations as much as possible.
You may want to cut out any unnecessary expenses. A typical down payment is about 20 percent of the overall purchase price, so now’s as good a time as any to start planning.
3. Start saving now.
After you’ve analyzed your budget and your spending habits, it’s time to start saving for that down payment.
Keep in mind that you’ll also be responsible for closing costs, maintenance, insurance and other associated costs once you become a home owner. It might not be a bad idea to establish and emergency fund.
Having enough money set aside to cover about four to six months’ worth of expenses is ideal.
4. Talk to a lender to get pre-approved for a loan.
Once you’ve evaluated your finances and started saving, it’s time to talk to a lender. Getting a pre-approval letter from a lender makes your home search easier.
The lender will ask for copies of pay stubs, tax returns, and other relevant financial information.
They will then use this information to figure out what kind of loan you would qualify for.
5. Start attending open houses.
One of the more enjoyable parts of the home buying process is attending open houses. The more homes you look at, the better of an idea you have of what to anticipate as a future homeowner.
Feel free to ask questions, such as the age of the appliances, heating and air conditioning system, roof, windows, plumbing fixtures, and other items. You can also schedule follow-up visits for the properties that interest you the most.
6. Evaluate your mortgage options.
The nice thing about being pre-approved for a mortgage is that you don’t have to accept the first offer you receive.
You can shop around until you find the best terms and interest rates that meet your needs and your budget.
If you need a little help, you may want to look into state and federal assistance programs that can help with down payment costs, closing costs and other related expenses.
7. Choose the right real estate agent.
When you have a good idea of what you want, talk to a real estate agent. You could try to buy a home by yourself, but most people don’t know the market or have the connections that realtors do.
Most professional realtors have years of experience and know the market and the area very well. Sit down with an agent to discuss your wants and needs.
They will work with you to find potential homes that you can afford and are in neighborhoods that you want to live in.
8. Consider neighborhoods.
Besides the home, you also have to factor in the area and neighborhood that you’d be living in.
Is it close to local amenities, such as schools, hospitals, grocery stores, etc.? What are the local crime rates? Is it a quiet neighborhood?
Take some time to drive through the neighborhoods on your way to open houses and do a little online research to answer these questions and other similar concerns that you may have.
9. Think about your long term goals.
For most people, buying a home is a long-term investment. They plan to be in the same home for 10 to 20 years or more.
That’s why it’s important to think about your long-term goals when buying a home. The home you select should be one that you’ll be proud to own, and can sustain your changing lifestyle through the years.
It shouldn’t be one that needs a lot of work unless you enjoy that sort of thing. It should be in a neighborhood that you’re comfortable and have all the amenities that you want. It should also have some room to grow if you’re thinking of starting or expanding a family.
10. When the time is right, make an offer!
One of the most exciting steps is choosing what home you want, and making an offer to the seller.
You should talk to your realtor so that you can come up with an offer that is comparable to what other similar properties in the area have sold for.
Once the seller accepts your offer, the wheels are in motion for the final step of homeownership. The home will be in escrow until the sale is complete.
You’ll secure a mortgage loan with your lender, work with a title agent, complete all necessary paperwork and then the seller will be paid. Once all of that is complete, you’ll be given the keys to your new home!
That’s a concise list of some of the most important things for first time homebuyers to keep in mind. The entire process can take several months or more, so don’t feel like you have to rush.
Everything will happen in good time. Before you know it, you’ll own your own house. There will be new costs and responsibilities to consider, but it’s all part of having a place that you’re proud to call home.
Have questions or want to see home in person?
Call or Text Chris 630-234-1770
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Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give Christina Cash a call at 630-234-1770 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.