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First Time Home Buyers

ARE YOU READY FOR HOME OWNERSHIP?

Owning a home may be your dream, but in order for the purchase to be the happy and satisfying experience it was meant to be, you need to ensure that you are financially and mentally prepared for the responsibilities that come with it.

Some people have a notion that home ownership is like renting, but with the power to have pets and paint the walls whatever color you'd like. However, while these privileges are available to homeowners, they come with the responsibilities of a mortgage, taxes, insurance, home maintenance and sometimes association fees. Preparing for home ownership requires you to take critical stock of your finances and your expectations.

QUESTIONS FOR PROSPECTIVE HOMEOWNERS

ARE YOU READY TO BUY?

Owning your own home is a great feeling and comes with the freedom of making your place truly a home that fits your personality and lifestyle. However, it is also about being prepared to maintain your home over the years, realizing that part of your income and time will go towards repairs and maintenance. It's about being willing to take the risks of home ownership with a realistic expectation of the rewards.

HOW MUCH CAN YOU AFFORD?

It can be discouraging to find that your salary won't stretch as far as the home you want to own. However, sacrificing a huge part of your income just to pay the mortgage can very quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a point of pride. It's better to buy a modest home now and look at purchasing your "dream home" in a few years. I encourage my clients to find what is within their budget and not let their home become a burden. Let’s find your needs and only include the wants that will truly be a blessing and not a burden.

HOW MUCH CAN I BORROW?

Talk with a trusted lender that can help you determine what is best for you and not necessarily the max that you can spend. You can check with your bank, credit union and other trusted local Lenders. I recommend staying local and avoid the national online lenders. The online lenders typically do not understand the local market, and I have seen many issues come up for buyers because of this. You should check rates and fees with 3 different lenders. Also, it is very important to work with a lender who is good at communication. You need a lender who promptly replies to your emails and phone calls (at least within 24 hours). I have seen and heard of buyers losing a home because their lender was being too slow with communication and the approval process. I can also recommend lenders. Once you determine which lender you would like to use, you will need to get a pre-approval letter from them indicating what price home you are able to look for. Sellers will rarely even look at an offer unless you have a pre-approval letter, so that is definitely an important first step before even looking at homes.

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Do you like the idea of cleaning your own gutters? Do you shudder at the thought of lawn care? Would you rather just pay a fee every month and have everything done for you? Would obeying rules about when you can have your garbage cans out bother you, or do you want to live in a neighborhood where everything is 'just so'? The answers to these questions can help you narrow down the search for the right type of property for you.

BRIAN JACKSON HOMES CAN HELP

You need a good agent who will work in your best interest, have great communication and negotiate the best price. One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients who have worked with other realtors, is the lack of communication. When you work with me, you will not be handed off to an assistant. I will personally work with you, and you will have my personal cell # and email to call/text/email with any questions along the way. I want to help you purchase a home that will both make you happy and be what is best for your lifestyle.

When you allow me to serve you in helping you to buy your first home, I will treat you like I would want to be treated if this were my first home purchase. I have a checklist handout for new buyers that is very useful to have an overview of the entire process, and I will be there to help you every step of the way. You may have other questions, but don’t ever feel uncomfortable to ask me anything, even if it seems dumb or unusual. : )

Keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical sense, so keep your feelings in check. Keep a list handy of the features that you need and want in a home, and judge each home by the list instead of by details that could distract you from your goal. When you're alone with your agent, you can go over the pros and cons of each home. I can help you stay on track while still keeping our eyes out for a great property.

Make the offer. This can be a maze of "buyer", "seller", "deposit", “contingencies” and "inspections". I will be happy to prepare the paperwork and walk through every detail with you before submitting the offer. Remember, the seller may reject or counter your offer; so even at this point in the process, avoid setting your heart on the home you hope to own. I will help you walk through the options and help you determine how to best make your offer. Your offer recommendation will depend on many different circumstances, such as supply/demand, past sales, contingencies, time of year, price range, etc. You'll probably have to write an earnest money deposit check (EMD) that proves the seriousness of your offer. The amount of the EMD will depend on the price range of the property. You will also want to have a pre-approval letter from your lender that indicates you are financially able to purchase the home.

Get all necessary inspections done. Once you have an accepted offer you will have 10 days to complete inspections. A home inspector will check for signs of mold, leaks, wood destroying insects, foundation issues, faulty wiring and many other potential issues, and is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection done means that you could be stuck in a home with a bad case of black mold and no recourse other than to pay for its removal. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars, but again, this is more than worth it in the end. Use an inspector that you trust. There are several inspectors in the area that I would be happy to recommend.

Do a final walkthrough before closing the deal. I would be happy to do this with you to make sure that everything agreed upon is completed prior to the final signing.

From the first interview that determines your requirements to the moment that you receive the keys, I will help you with the complicated process of buying a home. Don't hesitate to contact me to find out more about how we can make the home buying process easier!

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