Buying a home can be stressful. But it can be even more stressful if you’re a first-time homebuyer who is unfamiliar with the process. It’s one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make and that can lead to anxiety. Here are six easy steps you can take to feel more at ease.
Make a budget
When you start looking at homes, it’s easy to get carried away. You may believe you’ve just found your dream home, but the mortgage payments may be more than you can handle. Before you begin your search, determine how much you can reasonably afford to pay for a home. Use this as your guide when house-hunting, and avoid the temptation to get in over your head.
Learn about mortgage options
Knowledge is power. Take time to educate yourself about the types of mortgages that are available. Not only can you look into a traditional mortgage, but you may also qualify for an FHA or a VA loan, among others. You should treat a mortgage as you would any other large purchase. Shop around for the best deal and the best terms.
Practice paying a mortgage
Are you worried that your mortgage payment is going to be more than you can handle? Then you should practice making that payment for a few months. Once you know how much you can afford each month, set that money aside as if you were paying the mortgage. You’ll get a good sense of whether or not that number is appropriate so you can make a more informed decision when the time comes.
Know what you want
When you begin your home search, you’ll discover there are so many choices out there when it comes to homes. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, then it can make the situation very stressful. Sit down and make a list of what you need in a home, and what it would be nice to have. Do you need a certain number of bedrooms? Would you like a home located in a specific school district? Are you hoping for a big backyard where the kids can play? When you determine what you really need, it will make it easier to know when you’ve found the right home.
Once you’re out shopping for a home, you’ll soon realize that no home is going to meet every single one of your needs. It’s important that you remain flexible. Buying a home is a complex process and the more that you can keep an open mind and be willing to compromise, the better.
Work with a trusted professional
Finally, the best decision you can make to ease your home-buying stress is to work with a trusted real estate professional. When you partner with an agent who is an expert in your market, you can rely on them for guidance throughout the entire process. Chances are they’ve encountered every type of problem or setback imaginable, and they can help you navigate or avoid those same problems.
Susan Matthews serves the greater Charleston Area as a Realtor with Coldwell Banker. Contact her for more information or to get started on your home search.