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Kevin & Julie McLaughlin-Broker/Realtor/MLS®
Moving Forward in Life Begins by Simply Moving
Kevin (951) 375-0367 Julie (951) 813-6363
First-Time Home Buyer?

ARE YOU READY TO BE A HOMEOWNER?

Homeownership may be your dream, but to purchase a home you need to make sure you are financially and mentally ready. Owning a home comes with responsibilities of paying a mortgage, property taxes and home maintenance. Preparing for homeownership requires you take critical stock of your finances and your expectations.


THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HOUSE

Are You Ready to Buy?
 

There are privileges to owning a home. You can have pets, paint the walls any color you desire and decorate any way you like. However, there is more to owning a home. Your home will require maintenance throughout the years and you need to be ready to make repairs when needed. Many repairs are inexpensive; others can be very expensive. You need to understand that your time and money will go towards the regular maintenance and repairs of your home. If you’re willing to take the risks of owning a home, you’ll reap the rewards that come with it.

 

How Much House Can You Afford?
 

Knowing how much home you can afford is an important first step in the home buying process. Once you know your qualified price range, you can look for real estate in the appropriate areas and really find the ideal home for you. Don’t forget about those extra monthly expenses (not the needed expenses, but the wanted expenses), like going out to dinner, the movies, clothes shopping, weekend trips, etc. You may need to cut back or delete them all together, if there is not much wiggle room with your monthly income. Make sure you can afford your mortgage payment including all of your extra monthly expenses and still live comfortably. You don’t want to be house poor. It can be discouraging. You work hard for your money and you should choose a home you can afford and enjoy life at the same time.


What is Your Debt-to-Income Ratio?
 

Your debt-to-income ratio (often abbreviated DTI) is the percentage of your monthly gross income that goes toward paying your monthly debts (automobile payment, credit cards, etc.). Your loan officer/lender will take this very seriously during the pre-qualification period. Things such as your credit history, your income, your outstanding debt, monthly expenses, employment history, the type of mortgage you want, and the amount of savings you have can all impact how much real estate you can afford.


What Do You Want?
 
Would you prefer living in a condo or townhome and pay a monthly HOA (Homeowners Association) fee to have the exterior maintenance done for you? Would you prefer living inside one of our gated communities where restrictions are enforced (a good thing)? Would you prefer living on acreage with the opportunity to have horses? Would you prefer living in a tract housing development with no restrictions? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search for the right type of property. Whatever you decide, you’re moving to an area that is a great place to live. Many of our family friendly neighborhoods are close to award winning schools, parks and shopping.

We Can Help

You Need a Good Agent
 

You need a professional real estate agent willing to work hard for you. We are dedicated to helping you find the home that best suits your needs at the best price. Being a first-time homeowner is a wonderful experience and we’re happy to help you get there.

Before we go house hunting, we will need to know what you want and how much can you afford. You will need to get pre-qualified with a loan officer/lender. Make sure you get a pre-qualification letter. When you see the house that meets all your criteria, we will submit the written letter with the purchase agreement. This shows the seller you’re a serious buyer and that you’ve already taken the first step toward owning a home.


When Visiting a Home, Stick to Your Priority List

Visiting a home that potentially could be YOUR home within the next 30 days can be overwhelming at times. We recommend you stay focused on the list of features you need and want in a home. Judge each home by your list instead of the details the home offers. This way you will know ahead of time what you are willing to give up and what you simply can’t live without. It will also help to avoid distractions and keep you on track towards your goal. After we visit each home, we can talk about the pros and cons. We always share ideas with our clients about things you can do regarding the cons. There’s no such thing as a perfect home, but you will find a home that is just right for YOU at the right price.


Make an Offer

You’ve found the right home and you want to write an offer. As your Realtors®, the first thing we do is run a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) Report. Our analysis will take into account homes throughout the neighborhood, including active real estate listings, real estate listings currently under contract and real estate listings recently sold. This will help determine how much the property is worth. We also obtain property tax amounts including the property’s base tax and special assessments. When making an offer, you don’t want to low ball a well-priced listing. Sure, we all know some properties are over-priced, but you could lose your dream home by not understanding the difference between a fairly-priced home and an over-priced home. Remember, this is one of the biggest purchases you may ever make so be patient. Negotiations can take several days before the seller responds to your offer.


Get all Necessary Inspections Done
 
In the purchase agreement, we ask the seller to pay for a termite report from a licensed and reputable pest control company. In addition, we recommend the buyer pay to have a home inspection done from a licensed home inspector. The inspector will perform a visual inspection of the home and provide you with a written inspection report identifying any defects that have been observed. We will provide you with a list of Licensed Home Inspectors. Inspections can cost a few hundred dollars, but they’re worth it. It's better to find out upfront, than discovering it on your own later down the road. During your investigation period, you can ask the seller to repair or replace any items of concern.

Always Do a Final Walkthrough
 

The final walkthrough is conducted to confirm the property has been maintained from the time the purchase agreement was written. If the buyer requested the seller to make repairs and the seller agreed, the final walkthrough is the time to verify the repairs have been completed. The final walkthrough should be done within 5 days prior to the close of escrow.

We enjoy sharing our knowledge with our first-time home buyers. We’ll provide you with all the information and tools you need to purchase your first home and we are confident you will be pleased with our services.

We look forward to answering all your questions and helping you find the right home!

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