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First-Time Home Buyers: What You Need to Know

Perhaps you recently moved to a new city for work and are looking to buy your first home instead of renting again. Maybe you just got married or had your first baby and need more space than your current apartment offers. Either way, congratulations! Buying your first home is a wonderful adventure - exciting but also a bit scary. Don’t worry. I'm here to help you get started!

On the plus side, it’s a great time to buy real estate. The current market has high demand and little inventory, allowing both buyers and sellers to see high returns on their purchases. While buying a house is immediately valuable in the sense that it puts a roof over your head, it’s also a great long-term investment, giving you the opportunity to build personal wealth with smart choices.

Five Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Here are five must-know tips for first-time homebuyers:

  1. Be realistic: First and foremost, it’s important to be pragmatic when it comes to your house search. How much house can you comfortably afford? What neighborhoods work well with your price range? You don’t want to stretch your budget to its absolute max, so think about the location and home size. Consider your lifestyle too. If you’re a pet owner, it’s important to be close to walking trails and/or dog parks. Weigh the pros and cons before making a final decision.

  2. Start saving early: Beyond having a monthly mortgage (hello, adulthood!), houses are expensive. Purchasing a home requires a down payment as well as closing costs. Plus, there are moving expenses as well as immediate home repairs, upgrades, and furnishings. The more you have saved, the better prepared you’ll be!

  3. Don’t be scared of getting a mortgage: Many first-time homebuyers delay buying because they’re worried they won’t qualify for a home loan or have enough for a down payment. Here’s what you need to know about getting a mortgage: Most lenders require a credit score of 620 or higher. They also look at the debt-to-income ratio, employment, and income as well as past bankruptcy, late payments, foreclosures, and debt, including student loan debt. Working with a trusted real estate agent (like The Urban Dog Group at Coldwell Banker Realty) can help you navigate these murky waters. Expert Tip: Don't have a mortgage broker? The Urban Dog Group works closely with Summit Mortgage and can seamlessly walk you through the experience.

  4. Explore all of your options with virtual tours and open houses: Virtual tours are more common than ever — something you can use to your advantage! You can virtually walk through a home at any time of the day and catch little details that you may miss in photos, like an unusable nook in the kitchen or the flow of the main floor. These virtual tours will give you a sense of what’s truly important to you. You may even discover a must-have that wasn’t on your original list! Of course, open houses are equally important, allowing you to get a better sense of the space. You can pay attention to neighborhood noises, the condition of the home, and more.

  5. Don’t skip the home inspection: It may be tempting to skip a home inspection and trust that the house is in good shape. Digging a little deeper, though, is definitely worth your time and money! Know that standard inspections don’t test for things like radon, mold, or pests, so you may have to schedule additional inspections as well. You’ll want to be present to ensure that the inspector does his due diligence, checking out hard-to-reach spaces like the roof or attic. Being there will also give you an opportunity to get to know your soon-to-be home a bit better!

Happy house-hunting!

Let The Urban Dog Group help you with your real estate needs! Contact Christine Elias at

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