Buying a house is one of the biggest investments a person will make in their lifetime, so it’s important to go through the process correctly. There are so many different ways to look for what real estate options are available, but before going to a showing make sure the important paperwork is complete first.

  1. Get pre-approved – It’s difficult to purchase a home without already having a pre-approval letter that describes the financing the buyer needs to close. A trusted realtor or the bank can offer suggestions for a quality lender. If multiple people are interested in the same home, waiting on a pre-approval letter can waste valuable time and gives an opportunity for the home to go to someone else.
  2. Budget – Do not ask to look for homes outside your price and comfort range as this can be a waste of time for all parties. The current market has limited inventory, which means buyers will not spend time entertaining offers that are considered lowball. Go through monthly expenses and figure out approximately how much could be spent each month on a mortgage and insurance, plus utilities and other associated moving and homeowner expenses. Don’t forget to identify how much money will be needed for closing costs.
  3. Priorities – Make a list of what traits are important for the home. Think about the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size of the yard, if a home office is needed, location to schools or other places.
  4. Location – Many people want to be near work or in a certain school system. Narrow down which area(s) to focus on.
  5. Be decisive – As has been the trend the last few years, there’s less inventory available than buyers. Once there’s a house that is of interest it’s important to act quickly.
  6. Don’t play games – Realtors are experts at real estate, which means they understand the market and can give credible advice on concessions, pricing, credits and other monetary factors that can come into play.
  7. Nothing is perfect – Each homeowner will have a different taste in styling, so its common that painting, fixtures, landscaping and other features may need changed. Plus, minor repairs are always something that can easily remedied in a productive weekend or two. If major repairs are needed, talk to your realtor for advice on how that may impact the price or closing.

There is so much information available to first-time homebuyers that many come to the table knowing what they want. More important than knowing what’s on the list of most desired features, is being approved, so anyone who is currently looking for a new home needs to talk to a lender before moving forward, otherwise it could mean missing out on a great home.