The decision to purchase your first home is one of the biggest and best choices you could ever make. After all, a home is the largest - and most emotional - investment most people will face in their lifetime. So, how do you know if it's the right time for you to buy? There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. The key is finding the right buy and taking the time to carefully evaluate your finances. A home purchase is an important step that can provide many advantages. Purchasing your own home is a great investment that can deliver several financial benefits - equity build up, value appreciation, and an automatic savings plan. Start looking at your options today. You don't have to know everything – a professional Agent will help you through every step of the process.
When you're looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else, good Agents put their clients first (it’s called Fiduciary Responsibility). This is your dream, and your Agent is your advocate to help you make your dream come true. A great Real Estate Agent will: 1) educate you about the current conditions of the market, 2) analyze what you want and what you need in your next home, 3) coordinate the work of other needed professionals throughout the process (Lenders, Escrow Officers, Home Inspectors, Contractors, etc.), 4) guide you to homes that fit your criteria and budget, 5) negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal possible, 6) check and double-check paperwork and deadlines for a smooth closing, 7) provide the mental and emotional support usually required, and 8) inform and discuss with you suggesting solutions to any problems that may arise.
To make the financing process as painless as possible, ask your Agent to introduce you to their preferred financing consultant. This professional will work with you and your Agent to make sure the financial aspect of your home purchase is stress free. What will the consultant do for you? 1)Review your current financial situation, 2) discuss the options available to you during the home purchasing process, 3) guide you to an appropriate price range, 4) negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal - price, interest rates, loan approval, and 5) Keep you informed and updated of the entire financial process throughout your purchase.
So you've met with your trusted advisors, and now you're ready to begin your search. But how or where do you start? There are a lot of homes out there, and diving in without a guide can become overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating. A good Agent will help you more accurately pinpoint homes that fit your criteria. The right home will meet all your important needs, and as many of your additional wants as possible. Some questions you might ask yourself include: 1) What neighborhoods are of interest?, 2) is accessibility to main thoroughfares a priority?, 3) how much square footage will you need and why?, 4) what amenities are crucial for you and your family?, 5) how are the local schools?, 6) what features are not negotiable in your new property? You'll learn as you look at homes, your priorities will probably adjust along the way.
Once you've found a home you love, the next step is deciding on a price. It's important to remember that a home is an investment. Your Agent will give you information on other properties in the neighborhood to help you ensure you make an informed decision when it comes to price. Look to your Agent to explain and guide you through the offer process. Some things to consider when deciding on the best price point are: comparable properties that are, under contract, past closings, and competitive properties that are “Active”, the properties “time-on-market”, and any improvements that have been made to the property.
Your Agent will provide you with the ‘Arizona Buyer Advisory’ which is a comprehensive document on the how to evaluate neighborhoods in general, and homes specifically in the State of Arizona. Once under contract you will have the opportunity to inspect the property and neighborhood for a period of ten days. Here is where your Agent will connect you with professionals, Home Inspectors, trades-people, to evaluate anything that you deem important. Any time during the ten day inspection period you can “disqualify” a property or neighborhood, or move forward requesting any necessary (judicious, prudent, and balanced) repairs to the property.
In order to ensure that you don't put the property purchase at risk, you have a couple responsibilities that you'll need to keep in mind: staying in control of your credit and finances - do not make any large purchases during this time, move money around, or close any credit accounts unless directed to. It's important to keep your financials steady throughout the buying process. Keep in constant communication with your trusted Agent, Lender, and Escrow Officer during this process. Be sure to return all phone calls and complete paperwork promptly. But don't be afraid to ask questions - your Team is there to help you!
Congratulations, and welcome home! The home-buying process is complete, which means it's time for your maintenance plan! It's now your responsibility, and in your best financial interest, to protect your investment for years to come. Performing routine maintenance on your home's systems is always more affordable than having to fix big problems later. Be sure to watch for signs of leaks, damage and wear.
And remember, just because the sale is complete, your relationship with your Agent doesn't need to end! After you buy, your Agent can still help you - providing information on the real estate market, finding contractors and repair services, and even tracking your home's current value. Happy home-owning!