1. Downpayment & Pre-Qualification
Meet with a mortgage lender and see if you can get pre-qualified for a loan. You can also see how much you will be able to afford to pay for a home and see how much you need for a downpayment.
2. Know What you Want
Make a list of what you need and want in a home. Now compare the two lists. Are there some things on your "want" list that you can do without to make the deal happen? This takes some careful thinking and planning for most first time homebuyers because the first time you buy a home you are usually faced with limited finances. What's on the market as an entry-level may not have all the bells and whistles that you are looking for so it's important to know what you can live without and what you can't.
3. Get Professional Representation
Hiring a real estate professional will ensure that each step in the home buying process is as stress-free as possible. We will be able to provide you with essential market information and recommendations on ideal properties that fit your criteria.
4. Be Objective
Often enough, people get emotional when purchasing their first home. It is important to keep an objective state of mind and think with your head, rather than your heart. Does this home really meet your requirements? Unless you absolutely have to move in a certain time frame, there is no need to make a hurried decision that you will regret.
5. Get a Home Inspection
Acquiring the services of a professional home inspector can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run. A home inspector will evaluate the home and reveal any repairs or damages that need to be fixed. Being aware of any structural damage to the home before closing will prevent you from being liable for any repairs in the future.
6. Listen to your lawyer
An often underutilized member of your home buying team is your real estate lawyer. It's his job to ensure all "I"s are dotted and all "T"s are crossed. Any paperwork mishaps, issues with finances, or other problems that arrise, often happen in their office. Your home isn't technically your home until he, or she, hands you the keys.