5 tips for first-time home buyers

Buying a home for the first time might seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve gathered an assortment of tips and tricks that’ll make purchasing your first home a breeze. Read on to see what to keep in mind when you make the jump from renting to owning.

Determine a realistic budget. Before stepping foot on a property that’s for sale, it’s vital to understand exactly what you are able to afford. There are easy, online calculators you can utilize to determine an estimate to use as a guide for your budget. Take into account what your current rent payment is, too, and whether that amount has been a difficulty to pay in the past. Get together with a lender to get pre-approved for a number you know you can pay. Taxes, closing fees, inspections, and HOA costs are details to keep in mind when budget building, as well.

Find a real estate agent you trust and enjoy being around. You want a realtor that works hard and leaves a good impression on sellers on your behalf, and someone you get along with, since you’ll be spending a decent amount of time with them. Because it’s a big and important purchase, buying a first home should be put in the best hands, so it’s smart to “interview” and shop around for the best realtor for you and your family.

Visit between 20 to 30 houses before choosing. This number may seem high, but as you view homes, you’ll learn what to look for and, more importantly, what you want and don’t want out of a house. The layout, how many floors there are, storage, bedroom and bathroom numbers, outdoor space—the list goes on, and even though you may have an idea of what you like, you won’t know for sure until you see a bit of everything. Visiting them is key, because pictures may tell a thousand words, but they can also be wildly inaccurate for the true state of the property.

Be flexible with neighborhoods. You probably want a decent commute to work or to live in an area with good schools, and that is completely normal and attainable. But, instead of pigeonholing yourself to one area, select two to four neighborhoods that have perks that agree with you, and view homes in these various communities before making a choice. And, always remember, the housing market is hot, so until you’re under contract, try not to fall head over heels for any one house or neighborhood. This could be the hardest part of home buying, but it’s better to be realistic and open-minded than disappointed!

Make sure to sign up for home insurance. A house is one of the most valuable assets someone can have, and first-time homebuyers have much at stake with this new investment. Top-tier coverage at competitive rates is ideal, and California homeowners can get just that with a plan from Pacific Affinity. Home insurance can cover several facets of your property, from damage to the home itself, damage to other structures on the property, personal property protection, and liability. So, whether someone slips on the driveway and ends up hurt, valuable jewelry or electronics get stolen, or a natural disaster strikes, you’re covered with a plan from Pacific Affinity. And that’s all the peace of mind new homeowners need and deserve.

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