The home-buying experience varies from person to person and day to day. First-time homebuyers can find it particularly challenging, as they face stiff competition and don’t always have the strongest credit history. You might find the meaning of real estate and mortgage terms confusing, and you might not be as familiar with the Napa Valley real estate market as more seasoned home buyers are.
Fortunately, with the help of a skilled real estate agent, you can make your first home purchasing experience a far less stressful one. In this second post in our series on preparing to buy your first home, we offer our best tips on home shopping and buying.
Now that you’ve calculated how much house you can afford, checked and strengthened your credit score, explored your mortgage options, and gotten preapproved for a mortgage, it’s time to begin house hunting!
Buying your first home is not something you want to do alone. Working with a buyer’s agent allows you to tap into years of expertise and wisdom every step of the way. What makes for a great agent? You want someone who understands your wants and budget and is prepared to guide you through the negotiation and closing processes. It’s a plus if they have extensive experience buying and selling homes in the neighborhoods you’re interested in.
There are pros and cons to different types of homes. Think about your budget and lifestyle. Would a townhome or condominium be just as agreeable as a single-family home? And while the old advice of buying the worst house in the best neighborhood might not be in your best interests, it is worth considering a fixer-upper, especially if you have your heart set on a particular location. Just remember to factor in the cost of improvements to your purchase price.
It’s easy to get caught up in bidding wars, especially if you absolutely love a house. But the last thing you want to do is spend all your savings or increase your mortgage payment to one that keeps you awake at night. It’s common for first-time buyers to miscalculate repair and renovation costs and underestimate the costs of homeownership. Now’s the time to listen to your real estate agent, who can remind you about property taxes, insurance rates, and repair costs!
Once you find a property you love, don’t skip paying for a home inspection to assess structural and mechanical systems. You can attend the inspection to understand the house better and ask the inspector for his informed opinions on issues he finds. You can then decide if any necessary fixes are worth it or if you want your agent to negotiate with the seller to cover more extensive repairs, such as on an aging roof.
When you’re buying your first home, your real estate agent can make a big difference in guiding you through the process. To learn how the agents at St. Helena Real Estate can help you find a property that meets your wishes and budget, contact us today!