You’ve got your dream job. Your student loans are under control. You’ve actually managed to save some money. Buying that first house or condo is now number one on your bucket list. It’s so tempting to get started by browsing through all the real estate websites online, falling in love with a neighborhood or style of home. Downtown, suburbs, house, condo – what’s the perfect fit for your lifestyle?
Before you go overboard surfing the internet for your perfect home, there are some pretty systematic steps to follow. Your number one priority is to meet with a mortgage banker or mortgage broker. These professionals will review your employment, savings and credit history. More important, they will let you know the maximum amount you can borrow based on the information you provide. Your mortgage professional will then provide you with a ‘pre-approval’ which you’ll need to provide when signing a contract for purchase.
Just because you can afford a high payment doesn’t mean you should buy a home at the top of your price range. Home ownership & home maintenance is always more expensive than you think! Older homes have hidden costs & chic downtown condos come with pricey monthly homeowners association fees.
Now that you have pre-approval in hand, the next professional on your list should be a quality real estate agent. Ask for referrals and try to connect with an agent that works with first time home buyers. The agent will help steer you in the right direction with neighborhoods, amenities and pricing. A good agent will also help you prioritize your wish list items for your new home.
Before finding the perfect home, decide on the area in town that’s most preferable. Consider your commute, amenities in the area, access to highways, etc. This will help narrow down your search considerably. It’s all about location! With the price range, home type, amenities & location nailed down, your agent will be able to narrow your search to a more manageable number of properties to view.
You’ve found the perfect property. Your real estate agent has negotiated a great deal on the price and your mortgage banker has approved your loan. Your last step is to have a serious celebration at a special occasion restaurant. You’ll remember this meal for years to come. The Midtown Grille in Raleigh, NC is just the place for that special celebration! Congratulations homeowner!