Words of Wisdom When Buying Your First Home
Welcome everyone to this week's edition of the "Sunday Night AP Real Estate Investing's Real Estate Investing Blog" (we'll work on shortening that later). A place where you, the reader, is able to gain a wealth of knowledge on all things real estate investing, and I, the author, am able to fully utilize my university required writing course... At least I learned something in college! I missed last week due to pure laziness, but I promise to make it up to you with this post.
Enough with the formalities. Let's get into it. What should you know when preparing to buy your first home? Having recently gone through this process myself, I consider myself a subject matter expert. So without further ado, here are 5 things to consider as you go through the process.
1. Do Your Research Ahead of Time
As soon as you have the slightest interest in buying a house, start educating yourself. It is a long, complicated and expensive process that warrants your time and understanding. Whether you are buying as your own residence, or as an investment property, you should have a basic understanding of the process. I bought myself a copy of "Home Buying Kit for Dummies" and no longer consider myself a dummy (unless we're talking about women). It would also be a good idea to spend some time on Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com familiarizing yourself with your local market. Have a general idea of where you would like to live and what your price range and criteria are. This will make your agent's job a whole lot easier.
2. Tell Anyone and Everyone Your Intentions
Maybe you're not the type of person to share your personal business, but in this scenario, it can only benefit you. Maybe your friend knows a great agent. Maybe your boss knows an awesome mortgage lender. Maybe your brother's cousin's mom's sister is also your mom... (I'll give you a second to unravel the brain-pretzel I just threw you into). If you don't have a solid team around you protecting your interests, you will wind up being very frustrated throughout the process. Tell people you are buying a house!!!
3. Patience is Your Friend
The sad truth about buying a home is that most of the process is out of your control. Unless you are representing yourself and paying all cash, you will need to work through a licensed real estate agent as well as a mortgage lender. This isn't a terrible thing, But it means your purchase of a home will be dependent on others doing their job. Other people don't always do their job as quickly as you would like. The best thing you can do is exercise patience, provide everything that is requested from you and be a pleasure to work with as a buyer.
4. Communication Is Key
Tying into my last point, effective communication can make or break a purchase. Find an agent and lender that will communicate directly with you. You need their direct cell number. Not their office. Not their assistant. Even better if they can communicate via text. Whenever your agent calls, you pick up. Whenever your lender requests documents for underwriting, you provide. The process will run much more smoothly when you have one key contact facilitating the deal on both the agent and lender side. Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask questions. You have every right to understand what you are signing up for, and it is both your agent and your lender's responsibility to explain it to you.
5. Stay Organized
Finally, do your part to stay organized and keep good records. Save a copy of every document you sign (you'll be signing a lot of documents). Keep a folder of all lender-required documents (W2s, recent pay-stubs, tax returns, bank statements). Save electronic copies and paper-copies. There is no downside to being organized, so be a big boy (or girl) and keep your s**t together.
So there you have it. Words of wisdom on buying your first home from a subject matter expert. It's getting late and my creative juices are almost fully depleted. Plus, these reruns of The Office are making it more and more difficult to finish this blog. Until next Sunday!
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