Every home owner has been there. Maybe you’ve been renting for a few years in a apartment or a condo, or perhaps you’ve even rented an entire private home. You have a friend who’s recently moved into a new home they’ve purchased, and when you go out for dinner or coffee with coworkers or friends, some start discussing how they’ve looking at purchasing a new home for the first time.
Though renting can be great too, you’re missing out on all of the extra amenities and financial benefits that come from owning a home, especially if you’re buying a home in Blue Ridge, GA. A monthly mortgage rate can actually be less expensive and more cost effective than paying rent, and with the help of Blue Ridge real estate agents, you’re able to acquire more square footage for less money. Just the idea of starting the process to buy a new home can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
We broke down what you need to know about buying a home, especially if you’re a first time buyer (because let’s be honest, school taught you pre-calculous and how to analyze 20th century literature, but no one ever explained how buying a home actually works).
Use a realtor who can become your home-buying guru
The most important thing to know is that you do not have to go about doing this yourself. Think of it like this: working with a trusted north Georgia real estate agent is like bringing on a team captain who will walk you through every step of the home buying process and help you protect your investment. Though you have thousands of details to consider when looking at homes themselves, it’s the financial decisions and contracts that can be the most overwhelming factors. Realtors help you understand the current market in your area and will be your voice when negotiating those contracts.
Odds are that you’re not an expert on required home inspection services either, simply because you’ve never had to go through this process before. And that’s ok! When you’re buying a home in Blue Ridge GA, realtors are able to help you understand a timeline for needed inspections, who should be responsible for paying, and if there are any potential problem areas to be aware of in a home. The last thing you want is to purchase a home that has a hidden, costly problem that will affect you in the coming years, and having a Blue Ridge buyers agent on your side will act as an advocate for you and your purchase.
When we’re presented with a contract that we don’t fully understand, we might assume that there’s nothing we can do, or should do, to alter it. If I’m told by a mechanic that my car needs additional inspections, and I don’t fully understand what the inspection does or how often it’s required, I’m likely to agree to the additional costs even if it wasn’t something I needed to do. But if I had someone on my side who was an expert on the condition of my car, that person could help advocate for me and negotiate a better deal to save me money, while still ensuring that my vehicle is completely safe to drive.
In the same way, a realtor is going to be your expert on the local market, your home inspection and paperwork guru, and an all-around ally to lead you on your home-buying journey.
Understand the commitment of buying a home
This might seem obvious, but it’s incredibly important that you understand the full commitment that you’re making when you decide to buy a home. Yes, you can eventually resell your new home and move to a new property that better suits your future circumstances, but buying a home is not as simple as renting or leasing. Before you start the process of buying a home in Blue Ridge, GA, you’ll want to do your own research and understand the community and available housing options that best meet your needs. Only you know what your true priorities are when it comes to finding that perfect fit in a new house.
If you’ve already become interested in a few specific properties, put effort into researching the costs of any needed repairs or remodeling projects. Understand the full picture of what you’re taking on as a new home buyer. Your Blue Ridge real estate agent can help you of course, but buying your first home is a big deal, and that commitment is not to be taken lightly. At the same time, buying a home is a potentially a very special milestone in your life, especially if you’re looking to raise a family (but we’ll talk more about future needs later).
Financial security and pre-planning
Having a better understanding of your financial needs and what benchmarks you need to reach within your savings is also crucial in the early stages of the home search process. Even if you’re months or a year (or more) away from buying your first home, it’s never too early to start strengthening your credit score. Paying credit cards bills on time and in full will help you raise your score. Opening new cards to acquire more credit isn’t the way to do this either. Stick to using one or two cards, and always submit payments on time.
At the same time, it’s important for you to build a savings account, where you are able to set aside money for your down payment and any other closing costs. Do research in your area and talk with a Blue Ridge buyers agent to learn more about expected fees and estimated down payments for homes in your price range. You can also use tools online to help you in the process.
Another step in the pre-buying process is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting pre-approved and working out what you can afford monthly is a significant step in ensuring you’re ready to take on this commitment and shop for a house you’re excited to fall in love with.
Think “big picture” and long-term lifestyle
Your Blue Ridge realty team wants you to have the best possible home buying experience, and as a first-time buyer, you’re going to have dozens of questions along the way. When you’re considering homes on the market, remember to think about the bigger picture. How might your lifestyle change in the next decade? What kind of a home layout would best fit your future needs as an individual or as a growing family? A home that may seem like it fits your needs now, may not be right for you in a few years. Take this “big picture” mindset into consideration when looking for homes and touring them with your north Georgia real estate agent to ensure it’s the best possible fit for you.
Though buying a home may still seem daunting, by doing research on homes in your area, strengthening your credit score, understanding what you want in a home, and meeting with your realtor, you will enjoy being able to shop the market and find the perfect house to name your home.