Owning a home is a beautiful thing! Your first purchase, however, can be both a nerve-wracking and exciting experience. In order for the purchase to be joyful and satisfying, it is vital to know that all necessary inspections were done right, enabling negotiations on the purchase "price" to be conducted objectively. As important, you need to be sure that all the paperwork has been correctly filled out and signed.
Having an experienced Baton Rouge Realtor on your side, with over 24 years of successful transactions and happy clients, will take a lot of anxiety out of the process! As with thousands of clients, Bonnie will help you each step of the way.
As a first time homeowner, you are now in charge of deciding what to do with your home. Free of rental restrictions, you can design the interior to reflect your preferences and lifestyle values, and you can surround yourself with all your beloved pets. You also have a mortgage, taxes, and home maintenance to look after as part of your new homeownership lifestyle.
For most, it is important to budget for your home maintenance costs, as these do add up over time. The landlord that you relied on to make repairs when you were a renter is now you, the homeowner. It is wise to budget sensibly and, by doing so, secure peace of mind so you can enjoy your wonderful home.
SOME QUESTIONS FOR PROSPECTIVE HOMEOWNERS TO REFLECT ON:
Are you ready to buy?
Owning your own home includes the freedom to design and decorate the way you like. However, it also means preparation to maintain your home over the years and the understanding that part of your income and time will go towards repairs and maintenance. It's about willingness to assume the risks of home ownership with a realistic expectation of the rewards. Budgeting for basic upkeep of your property will maintain your investment and its market appeal, should you choose to sell.
How much can you afford?
It can be discouraging to find that your income won't stretch as far as the home you want to own. However, sacrificing a disproportionate amount of your income to pay the mortgage can very quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a source of pride, pleasure, and treasured memories. If that is the case, it is better to buy a more affordable home now and look to purchasing your "dream home" in a few years.
What is your debt-to-income ratio?
This is something that lenders take very seriously. Your overall debt should not be more than 40% of your income, and your housing debt should not be more than 32%. What 32% of your income will buy depends on factors such as your available income and where you want to live. In rural or less affluent areas, for example, it can buy a very comfortable residence and ample acreage. In highly sought-after urban and suburban areas, however, 32% of your income might not even buy a 400 square foot studio apartment.
What do you want?
Do you like the idea of cleaning your own gutters? Do you shudder at the thought of lawn care? Would you rather just pay a fee every month and have everything done for you? Would observing rules about when you can have your garbage cans out, and what colors you can paint your home or condominium bother you, or do you want to live in a neighborhood where these decisions are more relaxed? The answers to these questions can help you narrow the search for the right type of property for you.
Bonnie can help you.
You need a good agent, an experienced Greater Baton Rouge realtor, who will work hard for you. I am dedicated to helping you find the right home at the best price. I want you to find the home that will bring you enjoyment and success in real estate ownership.
When you hire me to help you buy your first home, I want to know what you want and how much you can afford. Then I can merge these two priorities and help you purchase a home that you'll enjoy owning.
Keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical sense, so keep your feelings in check. Keep a list handy of the features that you need and want in a home, and judge each home by the list instead of by details that could distract you from your goal. When you're alone with your agent, you can go over the pros and cons of each home. I can help you stay on track while keeping my eyes out for a great property.
Engaging the services of a good real estate lawyer can be a good insurance policy. I can recommend several lawyers in the area who might be a good fit for you and interview them to ensure that you get someone you can work with. The legalities of transferring land ownership can be complex, and a lawyer can be your best defense against future legal troubles. A good lawyer can charge several hundred to over a thousand dollars for their services, but the thousands of dollars saved in potential legal fees later on can make this a prudent expense.
Make the offer. The extensive paperwork involved can be daunting to even the most experienced homebuyer! Property transactions are a maze of "buyer", "seller", "chattels", "deposit", "escrow", "completion", and more. I am happy to prepare the paperwork and go through it with you before submitting to other parties. Remember, the seller may reject or counter your offer, so even at this late date, avoid setting your heart on the home you hope to own. As part of the process, you'll probably have to write a deposit check to the seller's broker that proves the seriousness of your offer.
Get all necessary inspections done. A home inspector will check for signs of harmful materials like asbestos, lead paint, and mold. Termite inspectors check for evidence of active termites and other pests. Inspectors will also check for evidence of faulty wiring and leaks. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection done means that you could be stuck in a home with serious issues that will negatively effect your investment. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars, but this is more than worth it in the end. I can recommend several inspectors in the area.
Do a final walk-through before closing the deal. I am happy to do this with you to ensure that everything agreed upon is completed prior to final signing.
From the first interview that establishes your requirements to the moment that you receive the keys, I can help you with the complicated process of buying a home. Don't hesitate to contact me to find out more about how I can make the home buying process easier for you!
Contact me for more information about first time home purchasing. Call me on 225.926.7127