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A GUIDE FOR FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS
(AND EVEN 2ND, 3RD, AND 4TH TIME BUYERS)
If you are a first-time home buyer, I would like to bring to your attention several factors. In the years to come, you will be glad you considered them before you bought your first home.
1. Location is the most important factor in re-sale value. We cannot predict the future but you should know the area's past performance in a general way.
2. A second important factor is the home's condition. If your first impression is good, that is an indication that the homeowner has kept up their property. But unless you are an expert in heating/air systems, plumbing or an electrician, a structural engineer and roofer, do the reasonable thing and pay a home inspector to do the job. If it is an FHA loan the inspection cost can be financed in the loan (just an option). When you choose an inspector be sure that he has credentials and will do his inspection according to the terms of the contract.
3. Actually, before you get too deeply involved in choosing your first home, a trip to a mortgage company to speak to a loan officer is definitely in order. In fact, it should be one of the first steps you take. This can be a very pleasant experience. Although the amount of information they need may seem staggering, you'll see that most of the work in gathering the information is their expertise. After your meeting, you will have a good idea of what to expect in the way of down payment, closing costs, and the amount of monthly payments to obtain the loan for which you qualify. At this time you can discuss the various types of mortgages that are available. When you decide on a monthly payment be sure to factor expenses that go with your life style. If you begin this process on the front end, you'll find that when you locate that perfect home, you will be in a much better bargaining position. In other word, in the eyes of the Seller, you will be a qualified Purchaser, "a sure thing"!
4. Speaking of contracts, when your agent writes your offer to purchase, be certain everything is covered to begin with in the offer such as, personal property, condition of property and any warranties. After you have made a deal, you can't go back and say "but I meant to include the ________."
5. Beware of buying the biggest house in the neighborhood. If there are only a few large houses in a particular subdivision, the smaller homes will bring down the value of the larger one.
6. A beautifully decorated home done in the current decorating trend will catch your eye. Be sure before you make an offer, realize that all the fancy furnishings and wall decorations will leave with the former owners. You could be left with a floor plan that does not fit your needs. Another question to address is the monthly average for the utilities for the year.
7. Perhaps, I should have begun with the first thing you should do when shopping for your home. This is choosing an agent, but I wanted to give you some criteria, a basis on which to evaluate the agent you choose. When a Seller looks for an agent to sell his home, often he will look go with the advice of a friend, and you may do this also. What works well for one, may or may not work for another. You may feel you would like to interview two or three agents before you choose one t o represent your best interest. I would suggest you sit down and talk with them and ask questions on the topics I have covered before you go out and look at houses.
This is only a guide and is not meant to cover all there is in selecting either an agent or your first home but it should give you a head start.
5860 Ridgeway Center Parkway, Suite 100
Memphis, TN 38120