Buying Your First Home

If you are planning to buy your first home, then you may be feeling a lot of emotions and a bit overwhelmed from the experience. The decision to buy a home in the first place is a big one, and you were no doubt encouraged to do so by friends and family. Or, you may have made the decision and feel a bit worried because of the economy. There are good reasons to buy a home and some tips to take some of the worry out of the process.

Why Own Your Own Home?

Most people long to own their own home because of a thing called "pride of ownership". That means you own the place and you can paint it any color you want to paint it. You can build cupboards into the walls, permanently attach fixtures and play your music as loud as you like. It gives you and your family a sense of security and stability. Not only that, but owning real estate is an investment that, over time, appreciates. Sure the markets go up and down, but overall, real estate gains in the long run.

Beginning the Search

When you begin your search for your home, you'll likely begin on the internet, checking out what's available and what kind of area you want to live in. You can do virtual tours, see aerial shots of neighborhoods and homes, and basically make some decisions on where you'd like to live and what kind of house you'd like to buy. You can narrow your searches to dollar amounts, areas, square footage - almost any parameters you choose. By the time you're finished this preliminary search, you have a very good idea what you want and you'll make your time with the real estate agent very effective.

Enlisting the Help of An Agent

If you've done your homework, your agent should be able to find the home you're looking for without a lot of difficulty. Truth told; when you're ready to buy you don't need to see dozens of homes. Your agent should be able to find your home within a couple of weeks. That's why it is a good idea to be pre-qualified for your mortgage beforehand. The deal will go much faster and smoother when you've gotten all of your preliminary work completed. Your agent knows how much you can spend and will only show you the home or homes that fit the bill.

House Tours

Once you have the specifics nailed down with your agent, it will be time to view houses. Just a tip regarding diet here. Your memory will be better if you stay away from sugar and have a meal of carbs (good ones, like veggies). You will want to remember the houses you see and if you eat junk food before you go out to see houses, studies show you won't remember much. Don't expect to see 20 houses on your tour of homes. Seven is about as much as you can handle and still remember what you saw accurately.

You can keep a digital diary of your house tours in order to help you remember where the houses are and what they were like. Photograph the house number first, and then take pictures of any features you especially like - design elements, architecture, or gardens for instance. Notice the neighborhood, who lives next door, and whether the location is suitable. Take notes about the property, the condition of the house, what you loved, hated, could live with or without. Then, rate the house on a scale of one to ten.

The Final Decision

After a few days of touring homes you will know intuitively which houses you want to buy. Ask to see them again. You will notice things you didn't notice the first time around, and you will probably know clearly which one you want to live in. At this point your agent should be in touch with the seller's agent to see if there's an offer pending on the house and to determine if it is available.  You'll make an offer and the next thing you know, you'll be in escrow!

See, that wasn't as bad as you thought it would be, was it?