RISMEDIA, May 25, 2010—Those who missed taking advantage of the
first-time buyer tax credit but who are still planning the purchase of
their first home, continue to have a wealth of opportunities in today’s
marketplace. A few smart steps can save first-time buyers thousands of
dollars. Here is a look at some of the ways how:
*1. Don’t buy if you don’t plan to stay*
If you can’t commit to remaining in one place for at least a few years,
then owning is probably not for you, at least not yet. With the
transaction costs of buying and selling a home, you may end up losing
money if you sell any sooner — even in a rising market. When prices are
falling, it’s an even worse proposition.
*2. Start by shoring up your credit*
Since you probably will need to get a mortgage to buy a house, you must
make sure your credit history is as clean as possible. A few months
before you start house hunting, get copies of your credit report. Make
sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you discover.
*3. Choose carefully between points and rate*
When picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying
additional points- a portion of the interest that you pay at closing- in
exchange for a lower interest rate. If you stay in the house for a long
time- say three to five years or more- it’s usually a better deal to
take the points. The lower interest rate will save you more in the long run.
*4. Hire a home inspector*
A home inspector can let you know if you’re about to buy a lemon of a
house or warn you about potential problems. At best, you can move into
the house confident that it’s in good shape; at worst, the inspector’s
report can let you back out of the deal if the house has major,
unexpected problems. Most typically, the home inspection can allow you
to negotiate the home price to account for necessary repairs.
*5. Get professional help*
Even though the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home
listings, most new buyers (and many more experienced ones) are better
off using a professional agent. Look for an exclusive buyer agent, if
possible, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with
strategies during the bidding process.
*6. Bonus Tip: Be patient*
Buying a home is one of the largest purchases most people will make in
their lifetime. The key to avoiding buyer’s remorse is to be completely
comfortable before signing on the dotted line.