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First-time home buyers may view the buying process as intimidating. Terms, prices, and papers can make the process seem complicated and overwhelming. Fortunately, others before you have “survived the search,” and you can, too!
1. Decide on a budget (and stick to it).
Most businesses have what is referred to as a mission statement. It describes the target goal of the company and outlines an over-arching purpose. While a budget is not the same as a mission statement, it does provide direction to you as the buyer, by establishing an accurate framework for the amount you want spend on your new home. Once this amount is identified, you will better know your spending parameters, and won’t be as easily distracted by options that are clearly out of your budget.
2. Look for an outstanding real estate agent.
A knowledgeable real estate agent can make all the difference when it comes to keeping you within budget. Many home buyers and home builders are tempted to just go with the first option they find; however, locating an honest, reputable real estate agent can make the whole process much easier.
3. Consider all your options.
It can be frustrating for home buyers who invest in countless building costs, only to discover later that there were areas where they could have saved money. Ask your builder about cost upgrades and options. Perhaps, after the home is built, you can install certain appliances for cheaper than the builder would be willing to do it. Researching options before you begin the process makes it easier to find ways to save money.
4. Find a reputable builder.
As with the real estate agent, it is vital that you work with a reputable, affordable builder. “Affordable” does not necessarily mean cheap; after all, hard work deserves a fair price. Nevertheless, an honest builder will not try to suck your bank account dry in exchange for poor work. Take the time to find a fair and honest builder.
5. Ensure that you understand the builder warranty.
There are two main types of builder warranties: implied warranties and express warranties. Implied warranties take care of general faulty workmanship on the builder’s part, but tend to be ambiguous. Express warranties are more specific, naming exact places and parts. It is important that you decide which builder warranty you are interested in and then discuss it thoroughly with your builder.
6. Look for a dependable lender.
As with every other member of your home-building team, your lender plays an important role in your home building expenses. Many builders come with their own lenders; however, you should look for a lender whose loan meets your specifications, not your builder’s. Getting the right loan plays a significant part in keeping you in your price range.
7. Have the home thoroughly inspected.
Just because a home is new does not mean that mistakes weren’t made along the way. Make sure that your builder offers and schedules a complete and thorough pre-closing walk-through for you to note any items that may require his attention prior to closing. Some builders offer the service of a third-party inspector during this walk-through to assist the buyer in noting items that may need repair, or you may wish to hire your own inspection company.
8. Be certain that you have everything in writing.
As trustworthy as your builder and lender might be, it is extremely important that you get everything in writing. Legally speaking, verbal agreements are not binding. Ensure that you have everything signed on paper to avoid problems down the line.