We are so excited about our Welcome Home Wednesday series! This is Part 1 of 7 in the series. They will come to you every Wednesday and cover so many fun topics. With help from our partner, Patricia AndreeWiltens, we’ll bring you details on Tampa Bay’s HOT real estate market! From tips for not letting your dream home get away from you, to getting your home ready for sale, or finding the perfect neighborhood to start the next chapter of your family’s story, we can’t wait for you to read all that we have put together!

We also have some really AWESOME giveaways coming your way over the next 6 weeks, so be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow @tampahousewives and @transstatesrealtyfl so you don’t miss a chance at some incredible prizes!

This week is The Ultimate Guide for First-Time Homebuyers. Buying a home can be exciting, scary, and stressful for anyone. It really doesn’t have to be scary or stressful, but it is for people who don’t know what to expect.

Where’s Your Horse? What you should do is hold their horses and get pre-approved for a mortgage before even starting to look for a house at all.

The first thing you should do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. So you know what you can look for, and then go find the best house you can within your budget.

Getting “pre-approved” doesn’t take much time. You’ll need to provide them with information about your employment, assets, and debts, so before you contact one, make sure you have a decent grasp on those things. They’ll also run a credit check.

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: Don’t sweat it if you only have a small down payment…

True enough, for the most part you need to have some money saved to use as a downpayment and for “closing costs.” But it doesn’t usually have to be 20% of the purchase price like it once was. That kind of down payment can be required for some buyers, depending upon their situation, but many buyers — even ones who are not buying their first house — put less money down. How much money you have on hand will affect how much you are approved for and what kind of loan makes the most sense for you, but there are plenty of options out there.

You Deserve Some Credit, If… How is your credit? 

This is so important! Please do not make any large purchases or take on any new credit. Too many would-be homeowners go out and buy or lease a new car, open up (and use) new credit cards, or make other large purchases before they close on a house, and they end up having their mortgage denied.

Are You Gifted? If you are “gifted” money from family. You will need to make sure you bring that up with your mortgage advisor upfront. A lot of times they want the money to be “seasoned,” which is  in your possession for a certain period of time. Will want something in writing stating that it’s a gift, not a loan.

As Seen On TV: Virtually every real estate show you see on TV paints a pretty picture — a pretty inaccurate one! Real estate agents know this because they live and breathe this business day in and day out. The home-buying process, as well as the housing market itself, varies greatly from one area of the country to another.

Avoid These Things: Going to open houses.“What’s wrong with going to open houses!?” It’s always a better option to view homes privately without the commotion of an open house — and you are able to take your time looking around and talking about the house with their agent. Also, some Buyers benefit to see a house as soon as it hits the market, even in the middle of the week prior to an open house. 

Find This First: Many buyers are more concerned about finding the perfect house than finding the best real estate agent to work with. So, make sure you find an agent who:

  1. Listens to your wants and needs

  2. Responds readily and doesn’t disappear for days on end

  3. Knows the industry inside and out and isn’t just a tour guide and door opener

  4. Is a strong negotiator

  5. Knows how to analyze and explain the market and house values to you

  6. Can manage other people well (there are a lot of people involved in a purchase, and people can fail to do what they’re supposed to)

  7. Helps you avoid issues and problems… but can put out fires when necessary and not lose their cool

  8. Is focused on your needs more than their commission check

Location, Location, Location…Choosing the best area to live in should be given as much if not more consideration than the house you buy. You can always upgrade a house more easily than you can change the area you live in.

There’s No Guarantee, But… Highly suggest hiring a professional home inspector. There’s no guarantee that something can’t or won’t happen to your home once you own it. However, there can be a warranty! So, it can be a smart move to buy a home warranty. A home warranty will cover things that go wrong with your house. You’ll have to pay a small fee (approx $100)  to have someone come out and check on the problem. But that’s it. If they can fix it, great! If not, they will replace it.

This Isn’t Yoga: It’s tempting to try to stretch your budget when buying a house and easy to just look at houses a little bit higher in price instead of choosing the best one you can in your price range.It doesn’t help that mortgage approvals are often for more than someone should probably spend. So pay close attention to not only how much you’re approved to spend, but also how much it will cost you per month! That’s probably the more important number to be concerned with because the price of a house is only part of the equation. Taxes vary from one house to another; two houses with equal prices may cost you entirely different amounts per month.

Don’t Fear Commitment: One of the most common hang-ups first-time buyers deal with is the fear of commitment. Buying a home is a commitment, no doubt, and it’s a serious commitment that you need to be ready and prepared for. 

No Better Time Than Now: When is a good time to buy a house? It depends upon the price range the person will be buying in, the area(s) they’re considering, and, most importantly, their personal situation.

 This Might Also Be Useful: As I mentioned in the beginning, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email with any questions you might have about anything in this booklet — or even things I didn’t discuss.  

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Here’s a free resource we created to give first-time buyers.f you want a copy, just click on the link and fill in your info and I’ll send a copy right out to you.