A Checklist for First Time Buyers

RomigChrisOur thanks to Chris Romig, who is a Residential Mortgage Banker Team Leader Susquehanna Bank for writing this article for us. 

As a first time homebuyer, the entire process of buying a home can be overwhelming!  You will get a lot of advice from parents, friends, professionals, and even random people at the supermarket.  How can anyone possibly sort through all the information and make a sensible decision on what to buy, where to buy it, and who to use for financing?  Hopefully a few tips can help you through this process.

  1. Do your homework.  Before looking at homes and getting preapproved, do your own budgets.  I always tell my clients—“I can approve you for this number, but you need to be comfortable because you are the one making the payments.”  YOU need to know what you can afford.
  2. Get preapproved.  This is where you should make initial contacts with banks and determine where you feel most comfortable.  Rate is important—but the comfort you have with the person on the other side of the desk means a lot too!  Whatever bank you choose should be able to explain multiple options to you and put your mind at ease as you start the home buying process.  Getting multiple preapprovals is never necessary.

Your buyer’s agent is also going to want to see a copy of your preapproval letter for several reasons.  One is that the type of financing you are qualified for, may affect the type of home that may fit into that mortgage program.  Also, offers being submitted on a property need to be accompanied by a copy of your preapproval letter so that the seller and their agent know that you have the ability to purchase the home at your offering price.  This will be especially be true in a multiple-offer situation, which many times happens in a “hot market” or newly listed property.

  1. Choose a realtor.  Again, just as with the bank, do your due diligence and select an agent that you feel most comfortable with.  I don’t recommend calling a different agent depending who has the sign in the yard.  A buyer’s agent will answer all your questions, understand your home needs, and even more importantly, know your financing requirements.
  2. Be patient.  The entire process can be lengthy and frustrating at times.  With good people by your side (bank and realtor), you can feel comfortable guiding your way to that right fit in a home.  Buying a home is never a race—and the last thing you want to do is make a decision based upon a short sided need.  The right house is out there for everyone!
  3. Ask questions.  Never feel a question isn’t important.  If you don’t understand something, ask.  Whoever is your professional in the transaction should welcome all of your questions and want to make you feel secure in what you are doing.

Hopefully, these five tips can assist you as you enter the realm of homeownership.  Again, it can be quite a frightening endeavor and a huge financial commitment.  Having the right mindset and the right professionals on your side will make buying a home a happier experience!

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