Buying your first home should be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a daunting or confusing one if you don’t have the right people on your side. That’s why working with the right group of Asheville real estate professionals is important, especially as a first-time homebuyer in Asheville. As Asheville’s top real estate agents, we’re here to answer your questions and help set you on the right path to finding your dream Asheville home for sale. Read on for five things every first-time homebuyer should know!
The Head Start You Need: Save, Save, Save
In a market as hot as this one, it can be hard to get into your first home since you’re having to compete with other buyers who may already have some equity to put on the table. As a first-time homebuyer, you probably will not have that cash from a previous home sale, so you’ll need to make sure you save enough before you start trying to make offers. If you decide to go with an FHA loan, you will want to save around 3-4% of the home price for your down payment and then another 3-4% of the home price for closing costs. That can be a decent chunk of change depending on the house price you’re looking at, so make sure you’re saving up now!
FHA or Conventional? Know Your Loan Options
As a first-time homebuyer, thankfully, you have options! First-time homebuyer assistance programs can help you get into a home faster without having to put as much down upfront. But FHA isn’t always the best option depending on your personal situation. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing between an FHA loan or a conventional loan. Some things to research and consider include interest rates, debt-to-income ratio, credit scores, down payment percentages, mortgage insurance, loan limits, property limits and more. When it comes to choosing a mortgage lender, make sure you explore your options, too. Different lenders may be able to offer you different incentives, so make sure to shop around!
It’s A Hot Market: Get Pre-Approved
Especially in this real estate market, getting pre-approved is going to be your golden ticket to getting the ball rolling on your house hunting journey. Houses are selling so fast in many cases, so you’ll want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before looking at houses. Without a pre-approval, you won’t be able to make a substantial offer, so if you fall in love with an Asheville home and you want to make an offer, make sure there aren’t any additional hoops you or the property owner has to jump through to accept. If you want to put an even better foot forward, check with your lender to see if you can go ahead and get the underwriting done for your loan. This is where the lender dives deeper into your files to ensure that they can loan you exactly what your pre-approval says you’re good for. If you already have the underwriting done by the time you make an offer, this means that things will likely move faster and you’ll be able to close on the home quicker, which is typically very desirable for sellers. They want a quick closing in many cases, so help your offer feel like the best one for them with that box already checked!
Pictures Can Be Deceiving: Visit Multiple Homes In Person
Online MLS searches can be a very useful tool when searching for your first home, but sometimes pictures can be deceiving. That’s why visiting the home in person can help you get the best grasp on the condition and area of the home. Not only will you be able to check out the obvious attributes in person, but you and your agent will also be able to check out the not-so-obvious things, like the age and condition of HVAC, plumbing, and other important systems. Plus, the more houses you visit in person, the more likely you are to be able to pinpoint exactly what you like and dislike about a home. This will help you get a better understanding of the potential homes in your areas as well as help you put together your list of non-negotiables.
Location Matters: Find The Right One For You
You’ve probably heard it before, but location matters, especially when you’re purchasing your first home. Many first-time homebuyers don’t live in their first home forever, so when choosing your first home it’s important to think about the home’s ability to re-sell easily – and location is one of those major “sellability” attributes. When you consider the location of your home, look at the neighborhood you’re in, look at its vicinity to major roads and amenities, think about the noise level where you’re located, and also look at the condition of the homes surrounding you’re home. If the home you want to buy is surrounded by other homes in great condition, your home will likely have a better chance of selling when you go to sell it in the future. Additionally, when it comes to location, you want to think about practicality for you and your needs. For example, if a home has all the aesthetic features you’re looking for but is extremely far from where you work, you may begin to find it more of a nuisance to have to travel a long way every day. Think about where you would place location on your list of values and follow your gut!
A lot of thought, time and money goes into buying your first home. But remember, it should still be an exciting adventure! We hope these tips were helpful and when you’re ready to find your first home sweet home in Asheville, give our team of Asheville real estate experts a call and we’ll happily help you along the journey!