Qualify for a mortgage
Shopping for a home is a long, process and an emotional roller coaster. So don't go too far down this road until you're qualified for a mortgage. You can't house shop for real until you know how much house you can afford. And there's no point in getting attached to a home that's out of your price range.
Buying With Your Heart—Not Your Head
The biggest trap of all. A home is a huge investment of money, time, and labor. Consider every aspect of the purchase with a cold, hard eye. Be brutally honest with yourself.
DO YOUR INVESTIGATION on the Neighborhood
You've investigated the school district in which your potential new home resides, looked up crime and other key statistics, and even strolled through the neighborhood, stopping to talk with people walking their dogs or working in the yard.
Understanding Closing Costs
You're not just paying for the house—nothing is ever simple when buying a home. Carefully read and understand the sheet provided to you that explains closing costs.
Have Cash on Hand for Unexpected Expenses
Weird things will go wrong with your home, it is part of being a homeowner. So be sure to have enough cash to handle surprises.
It sounds simple: You're the owner now, so you need to heat and cool the home, clean it, maintain it, cut the lawn, perhaps trim the trees. But with all the other costs associated with closing the deal on the house and paying for the mortgage, it can be easy to forget that these costs are going to be your responsibility from here on out. This is another reminder not to blow all your money on the cost of the home. DO NOT Skip the Home Inspection An experienced and certified inspector is worth every penny. There are things you're going to miss when you look the home over. A home inspector JOB is to perform a thorough mechanical investigation with an experienced eye.
Using a Buyer's Agent
Speaking of getting somebody knowledgeable on your side, it's great to have a buyer's agent because they represent only your interests. There are real estate agents and brokerages that do double duty with home buyers and sellers. There are also exclusive buyer agents, who only represent buyers and never sell real estate. Either type of representation can work.
Take the home for a test drive and live in it for at least several months to one year—don't dive into a remodel right away. Living in the home for a while will show how much you can afford to spend on remodeling now that you're paying a mortgage, operational costs. You may often change your mind about adding a window, or putting a tree in a certain spot.
Sure, everybody would like to make a killing by buying an inexpensive house in the little town that's on its way to becoming the next $$ big area!
Great Place to Live
First-time home buyers would do well to play it safe. Look at the areas past and consider its future. Areas Like Rock Hill, SC are growing. Fort Mill is building new subdivisions almost every day. NODA and Midwood Plaza in Charlotte are HOT areas. Make sure Your REALTOR knows the area they are showing you. DO they know the BEST restaurants in that area? Have they been to the parks near by?