If you are a first-time home-buyer there is nothing to be afraid of, however there are things you should know and do BEFORE you buy a home! This report will help you avoid the pitfalls many first-time homebuyers make as well as assure that your first home-buying experience is a good one!
This question is on the minds of not just first-time home-buyers but even repeat buyers. The real estate market suffered a blow when the housing bubble burst in 2008 causing many people to lose their homes, lose equity, or be "stuck in place" waiting to regain enough equity to sell and buy a new home. Since that time, the St Louis real estate market has recovered the value lost and home prices appear to be appreciating at a healthy rate.
There have also been a lot of reports lately on how the home ownership rate in the U.S. has dropped to the lowest rate we have seen in years and how the younger generation is just not that interested in home ownership.
So, what is the answer? There is truth to both of the prior statements. The home ownership rate has declined, probably in no part impacted by the number of people that lost their homes or did short sales after the housing market bubble burst in 2008 and then were forced to rent to reestablish their credit. In addition, young people in their 20's and 30's are waiting longer than their parents did to get married and, to some extent, appear to be not as interested as the prior generation in home ownership, preferring instead the flexibility and mobility offered by renting instead. However, for most people, assuming they have the credit and income to be able to secure a home mortgage, feel fairly confident about the security or steadiness of their employment and feel safe that they will stay in this location for at least the next 3 to 5 years, it generally makes more sense to buy a home or condo rather than rent.
Even though, from the standpoint of the real estate market, now may be a good time to buy a home, everyone's individual situation is different, and, no matter how "right" the market is for buying, it must be right for you as well. To address this, consider the following:
Even though you will be using professionals in your home purchase and, particularly if you follow the advice in this report, will select good ones, you still should educate yourself about the process to give you a better understanding as you go through it. Plus, by knowing your rights and how the deal should go, you will notice when something is not right or you are not be treated properly.
Don't buy before checking out the resources below:
If you think the timing is right for you to buy a home, then the next step is to select a REALTOR® to work with you to help guide you through the process and avoid the "landmines" that are out there. Many buyers want to go it alone for a while and there are plenty of websites out there where you can search for homes for sale from now to eternity, you will save yourself a lot of time and aggravation by simply utilizing the services of a professional REALTOR® from the outset.
Are all real estate agents REALTORS®? No. REALTOR® refers to an agent that is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and has agreed to abide by their code of ethics that protects their customers, clients, as well as the public and gives the consumer someone to turn to when they feel the REALTOR® has not acted properly. In addition, REALTORS® pledge that they will uphold, and abide by, Fair Housing Laws. In our opinion, you should not consider using an agent that is not a REALTOR®. Granted, we are REALTORS® so the opinion is not un-biased, however REALTORS® have an incredible arsenal of resources available to them to help them serve you that non-REALTORS® simply don't have, plus, you have the protection of the code of ethics as well as a grievance, or complaint process, if your agent doesn't live up to those standards.
Establishing a relationship with a REALTOR® early in the process will give you the benefit of their experience and knowledge to help guide you through the process. When selecting a REALTOR® don't just pick someone because they are a friend, neighbor or relative...treat the process like you would if you were choosing a doctor. If you needed brain surgery would you go to uncle Bob the dermatologist just because he's related? No. Well, REALTORS® have their specialties too; different markets, price ranges, types of property, etc. Select someone that specializes in, and is experienced in, the type of house, area and price range you are interested in.
7 Questions you MUST ask an agent before choosing one
7 Things you NEED to know about a real estate agent before choosing one
Even though if you followed the advice above, you have calculated the cost of the price range of home you are looking for and have determined that you can afford it, it is very important that before you actually begin looking for homes that you get pre-approved for a home loan. To get pre-approved you will need to select a lender to work with and then provide them financial and credit information for them to evaluate, then, assuming you do in fact qualify, they will issue a written pre-approval letter indicating that, based upon their review and your current situation you qualify for a loan up to a specified amount.
This step is important for several reasons: One, it confirms to you that you do have the financial resources to buy a house in the price range you are interested in and, two, when you provide the pre-approval letter to the seller with your offer it shows you are not only a serious buyer, but that you should be able to get a loan to buy their house. This gives you a leg-up in your negotiations over a buyer that is not as prepared.
When selecting a lender we offer similar advice to what we offered for selecting a REALTOR® with regard to friends and relatives and would highly suggest that you select a lender that is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association for many of the same reasons we suggest an agent that is a REALTOR®.