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Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

For most people, buying a home is the most significant investment they will ever make. Today, with an abundance of homes for sale and interest rates at near historic lows, it may also be the smartest time to buy a home.  While the prospect of owning a home is an exciting one, it can often times seem overwhelming, especially for those who are new to the real estate process.   With that in mind, Coldwell Banker® has come up with some tips for first-time buyers dreaming of homeownership.

Utilize free online tools to arm you with as much knowledge as possible.  For example, the Coldwell Banker YouTube channel, On Location, offers consumers a new way to search for and interact with real estate information and listings.  The channel showcases the power of video to bring real estate more vividly to life – offering behind-the-scenes looks at towns and neighbourhoods, smart tips and timely news on real estate topics, and video listings of homes for sale.  Additionally, the Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index available at http://hpci.coldwellbanker.com offers buyers a way to compare average housing costs in more than 325 U.S. and Canadian markets.  

Take time to access and closely review your credit score.  A sound financial track record and solid credit score can help lock in a loan and lower interest rates.  Checking your records with a fine-tooth comb in advance will also ensure that you catch any errors ahead of time, as well as help you better understand how lenders may perceive you.

Explore mortgage pre-approval.  A pre-approval will let home buyers know where they fall financially while informing the mortgage company that they are ready to buy. Additionally, getting this early go-ahead will help others involved with your purchase know that you are serious about home ownership – and well-qualified.

Line up your “all-star” team of professionals before game day.  A team of experienced professionals is essential to making the home buying process simple and seamless.  Start by interviewing and selecting an agent who you “connect” with.  That agent may also be able to help you indentify suitable lawyers, mortgage lenders, home inspectors and others who play a role in the process.

Anticipate your future needs and buy for lifestyle.  Try to anticipate how long you’ll live in your next home and plan for major lifestyle changes when possible.  What may make a perfect starter home for a couple might not work as well when children come into the picture.  Remember, people move for lifestyle reasons and your first home will likely not be your last.

Hone in on your housing priorities.  Your ideal home may have a porch, a pool and five full baths.  But before you start looking, make sure to separate your “must-haves” from your “nice to haves,” so you know where you can compromise to meet your budget.


Published Monday, June 7, 2010 3:26 PM by Jordan Epstein

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