1. Meet with a Lender to Get Pre-Approved– The first step to buying your first home is to meet with a mortgage lender or financial institution to determine how much you are approved to buy, how much down payment you’ll need, what special loan programs you may qualify for and much more!
  2. Focus on a Desired Neighborhood/Area– In hot real estate markets like Greenville, most properties move fast and buyers have to act quickly. Therefore if you are focusing on too many neighborhoods or areas at one time, you’re less likely to get the home of your dreams.
  3. Select a Real Estate Agent Who Specializes in Your Target Neighborhood/Area –A seasoned, full-time real estate agent who focuses on your target area is also key to getting the house of your dreams. Not only do they have the inside scoop on what may be coming on the market soon or have access to many quiet listings that others don’t know about, but they have the relationships with agents and residents in the area and know the ins and outs of that particular market. That goes a long way in helping you find a home, and also knowing what it takes in negotiations to get that home for you.
  4. Check out School Districts –School district zoning directly affect home values. So make sure to choose a property in a good school district even if you don’t have or plan to have children.
  5. Don’t Be Afraid of Some Work –No one really wants to deal with dated interiors, but a lot of times buying a house with a few minor updates that you can do yourself will be less costly and worth the sweat equity!
  6. Gather as Much Information as Possible Before Submitting an Offer –Another way a real estate agent is invaluable is for gathering important information about the home – sellers’disclosures, lead based paint disclosure, HOA information, neighborhood covenants and restrictions, surveys, zoning, building plans and permits for what’s planned to be constructed near subdivisions and much more!
  7. Understand the Market– Prior to submitting an offer, sit down with your real estate agent and discuss all the information that’s been discovered on the home and surrounding area, along with data on recent sales in the area in order to make a fair offer on the home. He or she can really help guide you on next steps in order to make your dream of home ownership a reality.
  8. Hire Reputable Home Inspectors – After you’ve put the home under contract, ask your real estate agent for recommendations for the best home inspectors and attend the inspection if you can. A good home inspector will be glad to teach you more about the home and help you understand inner workings of the home and any major issues. Your agent can then review the inspection reports with you and determine next steps –whether it’s best to ask for repairs and if so, which ones to request, OR if it’s better to negotiate a repair allowance that can be used toward closing costs or off the cost of the home.
  9. Select a Good Closing Attorney– A closing attorney is another key part of your real estate transaction team so choosing a good one is important. They will work with your lender and real estate agent to make sure that the home gets to closing and you take official ownership of your dream home!
  10. Don’t Commit Before Ready –Buying a home is a huge commitment – financially and emotionally and a bad decision can really affect your quality of life. Always be sure to completely understand the financial picture – not just the monthly mortgage payments, but make sure you understand the cost of property taxes, homeowners insurance, HOA fees, monthly utility bills and any other costs associated with updating or just maintaining the home.