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6 Ways To Enjoy a Positive First-Time Home Buying Experience
Buying your first home is an exciting milestone that can offer independence, security, and wealth. It’s also one of the largest purchases of your life, which can add some pressure to the process.
With a healthy mindset and supportive habits, you can focus on the positive outcomes of buying a home, including joining a new community and customizing your home to your lifestyle and personal tastes.
Learn what to expect when you buy a house so you can prepare for a happy and memorable home buying experience.
1. Hire Experienced Professionals
A team of experienced professionals is a valuable resource in finding the right home for you and maintaining a positive experience. Real estate and mortgage professionals have made hundreds of deals and seen it all, so they can navigate most home buying hiccups.
Meet with a few real estate agents to find the right fit for you. Local agents will also have recommendations for home inspectors, lenders, and other professionals whom they’ve worked with and trust.
Ask friends and family who have bought homes for recommendations to start with.
2. Enroll in a First-Time Home Buyer Education Course
Real estate has many specific terms, laws, and processes that first-time home buyers may not be familiar with. Enrolling in a home buyer education course can help you understand the inner workings of real estate.
You can also uncover first-time home buyer grants and assistance as you learn about your local resources and housing market. Get the knowledge you need to buy a home and save money with down payment assistance and other federal or state benefits.
3. Research Your Local Housing Market and Mortgage News
Read up on current housing trends and home sales to get a feel for the real estate market before you dive in. If the market’s competitive, decide if you want to wait to buy or prepare a game plan with your real estate agent to improve your offer to buy.
It’s a good idea to become familiar with current rates and housing prices to help you prepare a budget, anticipate negotiations, and create a home buying timeline. Then you can get pre-approved for a mortgage and know what you’re looking for without second-guessing yourself.
4. Practice Self-Care
Life sometimes brings challenges, and these moments don’t pause just because you’re shopping for houses or planning a move. Still, you can prepare to navigate difficult situations without sacrificing your well-being.
If you start to feel overwhelmed or find yourself especially busy one week, these practices can help you stay positive and motivated:
- Gratitude lists
- Meditation practices
- Intentional breathing exercises
- Mindfulness moments
- Physical exercise
- Body scans
These habits are great for any self-care toolkit, whether you’re house-hunting or not. Begin checking in with yourself regularly and care for your personal needs.
5. Stick To Your Budget
Create an accurate budget and stick to it to maintain your finances. Know how much home you can comfortably afford and don’t budge on that number when you submit an offer.
Going over budget on your house isn’t a one-time expense. It can impact your monthly mortgage payments, your down payment, and your insurance premiums. Stick to a monthly payment you can afford to support your financial and mental health.
6. Maintain a Positive Mindset
You’ve decided to buy a home for a reason, and there are hundreds of things that may excite you about homeownership. Whether you want to plant the garden of your dreams and enjoy beautiful curb appeal, or you can’t wait to never make a rent payment again, make a list of your top homeownership benefits.
Refer to the list throughout the process, and add new items as they appear to maintain your enthusiasm and motivation.
Prepare To Buy a Home
Every homeowner was once a first-time buyer who learned new home buying terminology, dug deep into their finances, and hired a home buying team they trusted. All you need is a little preparation, and you’re ready to start your home buying journey.
Prioritize Your Relationships
Choosing a house that your whole family will love is a practice in communication and patience. From the house style and size to the neighborhood and school district, there are a lot of variables to rank when buying a home.
Start your journey by including everyone in the conversation and identify your must-haves for the house. Browse a couple of homes online for inspiration, and discuss what features you want to prioritize as a family.
A home purchase plan from the beginning will help direct your search and support discussions when it’s time to submit an offer or pass.
Healthy Habit: Schedule quality time together each week to enjoy a fun activity and talk about movies, music, and joy rather than the house hunt.
Prepare for Competition
Submitting an offer on a home may come with some competition, and it can be humbling to find a home you love and lose your bid. The good news is that you can try again, and you’ll be better prepared for the decision.
Your real estate agent will be an excellent asset in drafting an attractive offer and negotiating with the seller’s agent. You can even pre-prepare the letter details so you’re ready to make an offer as soon as you find a house you love.
Healthy Habit: Write gratitude notes that promote positivity if your offer is rejected. You may be thankful that you can try for a house with a larger yard, or grateful that you have a better idea of what your dream house looks like.
Understand the Financials
Buying a house is a significant purchase that requires some up-front cash to cover your down payment, closing costs, plus home and private mortgage insurance.
Buying a home is an investment that builds equity and contributes to your wealth. You can convert this investment into cash for repairs, sell for a profit, or upgrade your home once you build enough equity.
The key is getting your finances prepared early. Know exactly how much you want to put down, how much house you can afford, and if you have any cash gifts to support your purchase. Commit to these numbers so you don’t have to worry about breaking your budget when you write your offer letter.
If you’re saving for a down payment, consult with your lender to understand what low down payment home loan options are available to you.
Healthy Habit: Build a budget you’re confident in and stick to it. You know how much you can afford and how much you can pay each month — your broker doesn’t.
Do Your Due Diligence
Research ahead of time to determine your budget, what style of house you like, and your neighborhood preferences. Once you begin the house hunt, take notes about what features you like and don’t like, and any concerns you see that you want to bring up.
For example, you may notice one house has drafty single-pane windows that you’d like to update. Even if you don’t make an offer on that house, you can start to take a closer look at the windows installed in other homes.
Most buyers have the home inspected once their offer is accepted, and this can help you spot some of these updates and repairs. Home inspections allow you to make sure the home is move-in ready without major alterations.
If your home inspector finds structural damage or required repairs, you have options to negotiate or exit the deal. You can exit the contract agreement, negotiate that the seller completes the repairs, or agree to a price cut to cover the cost of the repairs.
In any case, a thorough tour and home inspection give you confidence that you’ll love your home the moment you move in.
Healthy Habit: Once your offer is accepted, take time to tour the home, ask questions, and hire a reputable home inspector. Enjoy the excitement of planning your life with a new family home.
If you want to become a homeowner, understand that the process can be an amazing experience for your family with the right mindset and preparations.
Homeownership benefits can last a lifetime, while the home buying process is temporary. Educate yourself on home buying, know your budget, and enlist a team of experienced real estate professionals to help you understand what you need to buy a house.
Sources: Healthline | Burnout Book | American Institute of Stress