So you're ready to buy your first home? How exciting! Here's a quick list of home owner tips to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Before you buy it:
1. Start building your credit early.
While millennials might have a reputation for big spending, many have steered clear of credit cards and arrive in adulthood with no established credit history. Faithfully paying back students loans is a good place to start, but many first time home owners will need to consider obtaining a credit card or paying back other smaller loans to build their credit before applying for mortgage.
2. Meet with your Realtor in person.
Realtors are busy, but they should never be too busy to meet with you personally. Whether he or she is willing to meet you in person (at least at the beginning so you can get to know each other) can give you a good idea of if you should work with them. Buying a home is stressful enough without continuously playing phone-tag with your Realtor.
3. Ask "dumb" questions.
There is going to be a lot that you don't know, so never be afraid to speak up about it. Whether it's an unfamiliar term, confusion about the timeline, or even where to direct a question, always say something. Also, if you're ever asked if you have questions, don't say no! You might ask "What is the biggest mistake first time home owners make during inspections?" or "Can you tell me more about the home option period?"
4. Push for inspections.
Having inspections done during the option period is standard, but which ones are included can vary. First time home owners should expect to have their possible home's structure, plumbing and electricity examined, as well as the air and water quality tested. However, different styles of homes and age of construction require individual investigations. Be sure to discuss with your Realtor what their recommendations.
5. Don't let your excitement show.
So you've found "the one." Cue the hallelujah chorus, right? Not quite. Even if you've found the perfect home, be sure to discuss your feelings privately and never in front of the seller or their agent. Revealing your attachment to a property can negatively impact the final negotiations.
After it's yours:
6. Make an effort to maintain it.
First time home owners can no longer rely on their landlords to fix the leaky sink or squeaky door. You'll need to purchase tools (a wrench, hammer, and screwdriver set are a good place to start) and determine how you will care for your home. That is, will you hire a handyman and lawn service or will you see to the repairs yourself?
7. Don't make needless upgrades.
There is a difference between home repairs and home improvements. That is, while the garbage disposal motor might need to be replaced, the entire kitchen sink and backsplash do not also need to be updated in the process. First time home owners need to be frugal, especially at the beginning.
8. Get it insured.
Purchasing home owner's insurance is an essential step on the road to success. Be sure that your policy covers things like floods, fires, acts of God, smoke, and the like. Your home is an investment, so be sure to treat it like one.
9. Build your contingency cushion.
Although you have insurance, your deductible could now be quite high and, as mentioned, home owners can no longer count on a landlord to cover unexpected maintenance costs. Along with your mortgage, you should be making monthly deposits into a contingency account.
10. Don't stress too much.
You did it! You bought a home. The hardest part is over; so through all the repairs and paperwork, and responsibility, make sure to take a moment to appreciate all your hard work.
As always, Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson, Realtors is here to serve you. If you are a first time home owner and would like help through the process, contact us today for a free consultation.