With the thought of your very first home on the horizon, you're likely feeling pretty excited, and more than a little anxious at the road in front of you and we completely understand. After all, a home purchase may be the largest financial investment you ever make - that can be a little intimidating! You're probably asking yourself: What's the affordability factor for my dream home? How much do I need to put down? What other costs do I need to consider? How does the process work? Well, not to worry, you're definitely not the first to ask these questions and luckily, you're also not alone in finding the answers. We'll not only address your direct questions about finances, the market and local neighborhoods, we'll take you through each step of the home buying process with patience and clarity so you never feel in over your head. To get you started, here are a few things you'll want to consider before diving into your home search:
Getting a Mortgage Pre-Approval
Meeting with a mortgage broker and obtaining a mortgage pre-approval is hugely important in setting yourself up for success in your first home purchase. You may be nervous about being rejected or not qualifying for as much as you'd like but the best way to get clarity on what you can afford or what steps to take in the near future to be able to afford your dream home is to sit down and figure it out with a reputable professional. A great mortgage broker will know how to guide you financially before you start looking at perspective homes to give you the best chance at home bliss. This helps you build confidence and clarity around the financial piece of the puzzle and allows us to cater our search efforts to homes that fit your price range and needs so you're not falling in love with a home that's way out of your budget or settling for less than you can afford. It also gives you a competitive edge in multiple offer situations - sellers like to know you're a serious contender who's already been vetted by a mortgage professional so they aren't wasting their time with an underqualified buyer.
Understanding Your Cost of Ownership
Whatever your current financial situation, preparing for the cost involved in homeownership can initially seem a bit overwhelming. Understanding what to expect will go a long way in giving you the confidence you need to pull the trigger on your first home purchase. We'll teamwork with your mortgage professional to help you evaluate your loan terms and life, monthly payment, property taxes and a schedule of home repair/maintenance costs you may want to budget for in the first five to ten years in your new home.
Assessing Your Down Payment Options
Down payment amounts can vary depending on the loan program, your financial flexibility, the home you choose and the offer circumstances. Your mortgage professional will explain the different options that are available to you financially. If you're able to commit to a larger down payment, this could give you extra leverage in winning the home if you're faced with a multiple offer situation.
Getting Familiar with Closing Costs
In addition to your down payment amount, you'll need to budget and set aside up to 10% of the home sale amount for closing costs. It's important to keep this cost in mind when choosing the right home for you. We'll sit down together when the time to write an offer comes and estimate your total costs so there are no surprises at the closing table.
What Goes into Writing a Successful Offer
While writing your first offer is an exciting prospect, don't feel pressured to write on the first home you see. We'll be sure to let you know if the first home you see is a one-in-a-million diamond in the rough but in most cases, it's smart to view several homes in your price range before submitting an offer to familiarize yourself with the inventory. This will help you establish what you do and don't like in a home and will help prevent cold feet from buyer's remorse during the negotiation process. Once you've found the one and you're ready to make an offer, we'll sit down to go over any questions you may have and strategize your best offer plan and presentation.
Evaluating Home Styles & Conditions
Here in the Portland marketplace, we're lucky enough to enjoy an eclectic variety of amazing home styles. Selecting the right one for you depends on your home priorities. If owning a home with tons of unique character is important to you, you may be a great fit for an older home in an established neighborhood that may need repairs handled at the time of purchase or within the first five years of ownership. If buying into a home that won't require much, if any, upkeep in the first five to ten years is important to you, you'll likely want to look at a newer construction home in a recently formed community or infill lot. Certain home "wants" such as a large front porch, multiple levels or vaulted ceilings will help us determine what type of home you'll most want to focus on in your home search.
Our number one goal is to educate you on each aspect of the purchase process so you can feel confident investing your money and your future in homeownership. With us, no question is a silly question and we'll be here to provide you with all the answers you need to make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones.