Buying your first home can be overwhelming. You don’t know what you don’t know, and often, it’s not until you are several months removed from the stress that you even think of what you wish you would have known. Cheerful young Couple Opening Door Smiling Standing At Home

1. Buy a Home You Know You Can Afford

Buying your first home is likely the biggest financial transaction you will have made thus far. Navigating the world of mortgages and pre-qualifications, pre-authorizations, and underwriting can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to create your budget. You may think that you can simply take your current rent budget as a good place to start and what the bank says you can afford during your pre-qualification as a way to determine which homes you can look at, but that’s not necessarily the case. Make sure you have gone through all your expenses, including what you will need for a down payment, closing costs, insurance, and property taxes, and buy a home that will leave money in the budget for upkeep, utilities, and repairs.

2. Don’t Get Caught Up in the Superficial

We’ve all been annoyed at the couple on TV who reject a seemingly perfect house because of the color of the paint, but when you are home shopping, it is very easy to get caught up in the cosmetic details. You may see a beautifully remodeled kitchen and ignore the fact that the location or lot is not ideal. You may see a perfect home but get turned off because of a pink tub in the bathroom. When you are looking at homes, have both a wish list and a list of deal breakers, and focus on those things. Paint and fixtures can be changed, but lot size and layout are much more difficult to live with if they aren’t what you want.

3. Focus on Location

You may think that you don’t need to care about buying in a town with good schools because you don’t have kids who will attend those schools. If you aren’t using them, why worry? But buying property in a good location will always pay off. Even if you never end up with kids in the local schools, buying in a good school district will help your resale value tremendously. It may be cliché, but real estate really is all about location, location, location.

4. Prepare to Walk Away

Once you’ve invested time in making an offer, you may start focusing on “winning” the house, even if you get into a bidding war. Or maybe something turns up in the inspection and the seller is unwilling to address the issue, but you can’t imagine rescinding your offer and starting over. Walking away is one of the smartest things you can do when buying your first home. If negotiating comes to a standstill with the seller unwilling to budge, if you find yourself in a bidding war you can’t afford, or if the inspection or appraisal doesn’t come out right, know that you can walk away from a bad deal and it’s going to be ok. You’ll find something better.

5. You Need to Stay in the Home for Several Years

To make your home purchase a smart financial choice, you need to stay for a few years to make a profit. If you only plan on staying in the area for a short period, or if you don’t see yourself staying in the home for very long, reconsider making the purchase right now. If you turn around and sell the home within the first few years, you may lose money, especially when factoring in closing and moving costs. Buying a home is not a short term purchase.

6. Set Aside Money for Repairs and Renovations

Along with buying a home you know you can afford, remember that you won’t have a landlord to take care of the repairs and renovations. If your furnace needs replacing, your fridge dies, or you want to fix that outdated bathroom, it’s on you. Many first time home buyers empty their savings and stretch their monthly budgets to make their purchase, but it’s smart to set aside a portion of your savings to cover the first few years of upkeep.

7. Use a Real Estate Agent

As a buyer, using a real estate agent comes at no cost to you. Having an agent to guide you through the process, especially as a first time home buyer, is a no brainer. Your agent is there to work for you, to negotiate on your behalf, to give you advice, and to answer any questions you have, no matter how embarrassed you may be to ask them. Find an agent you trust and rely on them as an expert.

Buying your first home is exciting. But as a first time home buyer, you don’t want to fall victim to silly mistakes that will cost you dearly in the long run. Look carefully at your budget, focus on what’s important, and use a local, experienced real estate agent. When you are deliberate about making the right choices, your first home purchase will be successful. If you’re thinking about buying your first home and you’re not sure where to start, contact Amberwood Real Estate today!