Are You a First-Time Homebuyer?
Guest Post by Tim Britt
Purchasing a home can be a daunting endeavor, even for those who may have done it many times previously. Home ownership can represent so many different things to individuals and families; depending on the particular stage of life they’re in. For those embarking on this journey for the first time, I thought I’d share a few tips and things to consider as you begin the process. Even those who may have previously done so may find some of this information helpful.
In 1989, Steven Covey published a ground-breaking book titled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, he outlines habits that, when practiced in most any area of life, can often produce better results. A couple of his ideas come to mind as it relates to purchasing a new home and I want to share how they may be helpful…particularly, if this is the first time!
Begin With The End In Mind. I always ask my clients “what are your goals and dreams associated with this home purchase?” Or…”what will life look like in 5 years from now for you/your family?” While some will answer right away with “…this is a starter home for us;” or “…we want our children to go to a specific school;” some haven’t really thought about home ownership in those terms. From my perspective, I want to know this so I can help them choose the best loan program that will help them fulfill their goals. Here are some typical questions First-Time Homebuyers may want to ponder as it relates to financing a home purchase:
- Why do we really want to buy a home?
- How long do we plan to live in this home?
- How does a mortgage fit into our current budget?
- What are the “other” costs of home ownership… beyond the monthly payment?
There may be several “ends” associated with the purchase of a home. The first may be Closing Day! The last one may be the day you decide to sell it! There could be many in-between…such as starting a family or launching a home-based business. Whatever they are…I encourage folks to be thoughtful! Knowing what those “ends” are can be helpful in articulating your “why!”
First Things First! The idea behind this habit is to prioritize the activities related to shopping and purchasing a home in a manner that puts the most urgent and important ones at the beginning! While it may be exciting to jump on a real estate website and start browsing listings right away to find that “dream home,” there’s a danger of creating an emotional attachment to a beautiful home, only to discover that it doesn’t fit into your budget, family needs, goals, or…isn’t even available for sale any longer. Here are a few suggested “First Things” for new homebuyers:
- Know your budget: monthly payment, cash available for the purchase, as well as ongoing (future) maintenance costs.
- Know your needs (vs your wants): establish the things that the home must have in order to accomplish your goals for purchasing.
- Know your “why:” be able to articulate exactly why you want to buy a home. For some families…it may be related to a school choice. For others, it’s proximity to job, family or other factors. There is no “wrong” answer…just know your own “why!”
Finally, choose trusted advisors to guide you along the way. The 2 most important advisors to identify early in home buying process are a licensed Realtor and a Mortgage Lender. Since a home purchase represents both the largest asset and largest debt most families will ever incur, the guidance and professional advice from a trusted Realtor and Lender will be invaluable. When they get to know you and understand your particular “why,” they can help you choose the best home and financing options to meet your individual needs.
Tim Britt is a Senior Mortgage Loan Officer (NMLS 1369718) with Fifth Third Bank in Brentwood, TN. He can be reached at 615-415-8887 or [email protected]. The statements or opinions expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent those of Fifth Third Bank.