10 Steps To Owning Your First Home

By: George Wellington

The thought of owning your first home is an exciting prospect. Home ownership is a goal sought by many, and there are numerous services available to help you find an affordable home to invest in. There are a lot of options to consider, so thorough research and planning is extremely important, and so is finding a good local Realtor. Many regional real estate agents will assist you through every step of the process, and we highlight a few aspects of the work involved when buying or selling a home.

1. Find a great Realtor in your regional area of interest. Their experience is valuable and you should be able to rely on asking a variety of questions, and get well explained answers. It can also be helpful to find real estate agents that specialize in buying and selling, or specific real estate property investments. Realtors with a variety of other experience can be beneficial too, such as those with backgrounds in construction management, education, and income property.

2. One of the first things to do is get pre-qualified with a mortgage lender or financial institution to help determine what type of payment you will be comfortable with for your new home. Mortgage payments add up over time, so the financial aspects of home ownership should be evaluated closely.

3. Search for homes that meet your expectations. Often times a Realtor will preview several homes and discuss your likes/dislikes in order to find the home of your dreams. Regional Multiple Listing Services should also be available to help with the search process by narrowing down choices based upon a variety of criteria. For example, you can sort through homes by price, square footage, location, the number of beds and bathrooms, acreage, and a whole lot more.

4. Make an offer on a home you are interested in purchasing. Work with your real estate agent and write up a purchase agreement based on comparables in the neighborhood. This will help you set a reasonable price to work from during the negotiation process.

5. When your offer is accepted, work with a Realtor to deliver your purchase agreement to the mortgage lender, and be sure to finalize all the paperwork. Pay attention to the details and make sure you understand the documents you are signing.

6. Home inspections are critical because they determine the condition of the home and any repairs needed. Whether you are selling or buying, this will be an important part of the negotiation process.

7. Purchase home owners insurance that is practical for your home. Compare rates and find a plan that meets your needs based upon the factors for which your house is at risk.

8. Closing time is a satisfying step, so make room for congratulations. Get the keys to your new home, and make sure you've settled all closing costs and paperwork.

9. Move in! Make sure all your utilities have been put in your name and you have notified the Post Office of your new address. Resources for moving may also be available through your real estate agent.

10. Don't forget to homestead your new property by mail or at the Government Center, are usually located downtown, before the end of the year for taxes.

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