3 Key Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

It’s summer in Chicago. That means festivals, patio drinks and days at the beach. But for some of us, it means looking to buy a home and officially becoming a first time home buyer.

Buying a home can seemingly be daunting, terrifying, exhilarating, joyful and exhausting. Odds are, you will experience all of these emotions during this process, making you feel like you will go catatonic if you hear anyone else say, “This place has really nice light in it.”

Now, you can do research on a bunch of different sites to make this less daunting and all of those things I mentioned previously, or you could just visit us here at Truepad.

With some insight from one of our top agents who uses Truepad to show off her expertise, we were able to come up with 3 key tips to help you begin the process of buying your first home.

We are also going to do this in reverse order, so if you are looking for the No.1 tip, feel free to scroll to the bottom of the page!

#3 – Your Budget Can’t Be Some Imaginary Thing

Outside of spiders, snakes, and other creepy crawlies, money is one of the leading cause of anxiety, stress, and frustration for most people. But, instead of budgeting out another night on the town, you are budgeting for a monthly payment you will potentially make for the next 30 years.

You cannot kid yourself about your budget, about what you can or cannot afford. And if 2007 taught us anything, this can be a really bad idea.

So, how do you budget for (what will most likely be) the largest investment in your lifetime?

Well, you can check with online resources, which are abundant these days.

Or, you could work with an experienced agent who has successfully guided home buyers through this before and can refer you to an expert mortgage broker who will help you, because…

#2 – You Need to Pay Attention to Your Finances Now and Get Pre-Approved

Don’t wait to start saving or being conscious of your budget. Don’t wait to start being a stickler on going out to dinner every night.

Eliminating superfluous expenses now will help you manage your budget (see the item above) in the future. To also help your future self, get pre-approved now. Do this if you are especially considering to begin your buying process. Instead of finding your dream home, only to be crushed when you lose to another buyer due to issues around securing a mortgage, get pre-approved now.

“It is the first thing you need to know but it is the last thing people do,” Jayne Alofs, of Jayne Alofs Partners, said. “The first conversation the first time home buyer needs to have is with a mortgage broker. What is their credit score? Are there any surprises waiting for them that they need to clean up? I am diligent in making sure people have someone to talk to and begin to layout game plan.”

#1 – Legally You Can Do What You Want…But Check with Your Lawyer First

There is going to be a lot, and I mean a lot of legal aspects to buying your home. From the pre-approved mortgage to the inspections to, well, pretty much everything, you will need some guidance on what can happen or can’t happen, legally.

“[Agents] can’t really get involved in giving legal counsel, because we aren’t licensed attorneys,” Alofs said. “I give first time home buyers referrals to attorneys who I know will hold their hand through the process. People can do their homework, but at some point, you will need an attorney who understands the nuances of a particular home buying situation.”

Bonus Point – Work with an Expert Agent

You may think that a top tier agent is out of your league as a first time home buyer. However, sometimes these folks are a great place to start, as their referral network (from inspections to mortgage brokers) can get you started in the right direction.

Likewise, their ability to understand neighborhoods will give you additional insight to the city as a whole.

“Some agents think that if you work or know a certain neighborhood, that neighborhood is the only one to do anything in,” Alofs said. “To understand that value of the city, you need to work with an agent who understands multiple neighborhoods and their relationship to each other.”

Use these three tips to start your home buying journey in the right direction. If you have any topics, questions or ideas you would like to see appear in the Truepad blog, go ahead and shoot me an email at kyle@truepad.com.


Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson is a writer, researcher, editor, and publishing consultant with a decade of learning in the field. For Truepad she covers real estate trends and develops knowledge base articles that help people learn about the process of buying as they’re looking for a home. She went through the process herself two years ago and is a proud homeowner in Logan Square.

1 Comment
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