Buying your first home is an exciting time in your life! But, it can be a stressful time too. There are a lot of decisions to make in areas you may not have a lot of experience in. To help ease the stress, we’ve put together 5 tips that will guide you through the home buying process from beginning to end.

1. Know Your Numbers
The first step is to get your finances in order before you begin your search. Know all your numbers! Your credit score is a huge factor when applying for a loan. Take advantage of free credit reports and check your scores prior to applying for a mortgage. In addition to this, don’t apply for any new credit cards/loans or make any major purchases.

2. Make a Budget
Next, have a budget in mind. If you haven’t already done so, sit down and make a budget to determine how much money you have left at the end of the month. Use this to help determine how much of a mortgage you can afford. Most lenders recommend home buyers do not spend more than 28% of their income on housing costs. Factors that you will need to consider when determining your budget are down payment, property taxes, insurance, home improvements, maintenance, and closing costs. In addition, if your down payment is less than 20%, you may have to pay for primary mortgage insurance (PMI).

3. Get Pre-Approval
Imagine you’ve found the perfect home, but when you go to make an offer; you discover another home buyer’s offer was accepted because they had pre-approval. It happens!

Shop around with different banks to compare interest rates. Once you've narrowed down the financial institutions with the best rates, you'll need to apply for a pre-approval. Having a pre-approval will benefit you because you will know how much you are approved for, and you'll be ready to make your offer when you find the perfect home. Also, having a pre-approval may give you bargaining power when submitting your offer.

4. Time to House-Hunt!
You know your budget, you’ve gotten your pre-approval letter, and now, it’s time to house hunt!

You will need to begin with finding a buyer’s agent to help you. Choose a buyer’s agent who is knowledgeable of the area you’re looking in, communicates with you, and will negotiate for you. You'll be spending a lot of time together, so it’s important you like this person. For more on qualities to look for in your buyer agent, check out our blog “Use A Buyer’s Agent”.

Make a list of everything that is a “must have,” and a list of “would be nice”. Also, think about how you feel about renovations – do you want something move-in ready, or are you willing to put some elbow grease into it? Also, be sure to research the towns, neighborhoods, and schools.

5. You Found “The One”
You found the perfect home! The one that has (almost) everything you’re looking for and gives you that “I’m home” feeling. Your buyer’s agent should know the market and negotiate on your behalf to get the lowest price.

Once you have an accepted offer, schedule an appointment with a reputable home inspector. The inspector will look for serious problems, such as mold, poor insulation, or cracks in the foundation. It's important to be aware of these issues before continuing on. If issues arise, you may have to re-negotiate, or decide to walk away. If the house passes inspection, then congratulations! You’re on your way to closing!

Are you a first time home buyer in the Greater Baton Rouge Area? The Lawrence Group strives to exceed all expectations. We will help you through every step of the home buying process and negotiate fiercely for you. Call us at 985-260-2789 to schedule a free consultation.

Keith Lawrence
eXp Realty LLC
O: 985-260-2789
Search Area Homes for Sale 
Licensed Realtor in the state of Louisiana, USA

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