Montana based Real Estate Agent Elisabeth McGavin shares her best tips to help first-time homebuyers navigate this overwhelming, yet exciting experience. With 15 years of experience in the business, RE/MAX Real Estate Agent Elisabeth McGavin offers her top 5 tips to best position first-time homebuyers for success.
Be clear about what you want
When considering entering the world of homeownership it would be prudent to have an idea of what you are looking for in a home. "What does your day-to-day life look like, what are your immediate needs versus your long term goals? Perhaps you travel quite a bit for work and need a property that is low maintenance, or you have a family or pets and a yard is a necessity, maybe you would like specific amenities that are out of your price point like a pool or gym, thus making access to these features important," said McGavin. Create a non-negotiable list that has in priority from highest to lowest the items you desire from the home you purchase.
Talk to a lender
It's important to talk with a mortgage broker, your local bank or credit union to determine what a lender will actually give you to purchase your first home. Taking some time to save for a down payment can help in more ways than one. It can make your offer look stronger and give you more leverage with the seller. More money down also lowers your risk and beefs up your equity from the get-go.
Work with a Realtor you like
Realtors are professional members of a National Association which holds them to a code of ethics in real estate transactions and interactions with their clients. When you are represented by a Realtor, you can expect the highest standards in service, ethical treatment and up-to-date local and national laws. You can also expect that they will have access to expanded search power for locating your next home, vast knowledge and experience in negotiating a deal and facilitating the contractual documentation for a successful transaction. A good agent will educate you on the process ahead of time and will work hard to make your transaction as smooth, enjoyable and fun as possible.
Do your Due Diligence
Once you've found a home to buy there is a time frame for discovery to learn all you can about that home. A home inspection is a crucial part of your home buying experience. A licensed home inspector will visually inspect the property and write a report describing the property's potential defects. A home can appear to be in great condition but an inspector has specific training and knowledge to look beyond the surface and detect any potential issues the home may have. Your home inspection will inform you of material defects, required repairs, potential services needed and possible safety hazards. A home inspection is not an insurance policy nor can it predict the life expectancy of your home, but it can help describe the current condition of the home and things to consider for the future. After an inspection, your Realtor will help you review this report and you can discuss whether you plan to negotiate repairs with the seller, accept the findings or terminate your purchase based on your findings.
Understand your new fiscal responsibility
Plan to have a side savings account for unexpected costs like fluctuating property taxes, appliances that break down, seasonal outdoor upkeep, and basic home maintenance like staining decks, exterior paint, roofing, etc. These expenses dip into your pocketbook and require your financial commitment to maintain your property's value and keep you in your home. "It's my opinion that homeownership has far more benefits than drawbacks, can position you to establish steady equity, help diversify your investment portfolio and offer you a safe place to call home while building lasting memories," emphasized McGavin.
About Elisabeth McGavin
Elisabeth McGavin is a RE/MAX agent and a member of the RE/MAX Executive Club. She has 15 years of experience in the industry and is a self-motivated entrepreneur passionate about Montana, real estate and her clients. Her refreshing friendly customer care and attention to detail have earned her much success establishing solid client relationships while her drive, determination and honest approach to getting the deal done generate continued success. Her desire to structure and complete smooth and balanced transactions are the foundation for her repeat referrals and steady new client base. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/WhitefishRealEstateAgent.