Here’s what every first-time home buyer needs to know to dive into house hunting with confidence—and with as few curveballs as possible. Whether it’s getting a mortgage, choosing a real estate agent, shopping for a home, or making a down payment, we lay out the must-knows of buying for the first time below.
1. How much home you can afford as a first-time home buyer
In general, experts recommend that your house payment (which will include your mortgage, maintenance, taxes) should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income. So, for example, if your monthly (before-tax) income is $6,000, multiply that by 0.28 and you’ll see that you shouldn’t pay more than $1,680 a month on your home mortgage.
2. Pick the right real estate agent
You buy most things yourself—at most, sifting through a few online reviews before hitting the Buy button and making a payment. But a home? It’s not quite so easy. Buying a home requires transfer of a deed, title search, and plenty of other paperwork. Plus there’s the home itself—it may look great to you, but what if there’s a termite problem inside those walls or a nuclear waste plant being built down the block?
There’s also a whole lot of money involved. (You know, a down payment, loan, etc.)
3. Know there is no such thing as a perfect home
It’s your first home—we understand if you’ve dreamed about the ideal house and don’t want to settle for anything less. We’ve been there! But understand that real estate is about istanbul . As a general rule, most buyers prioritize three main things: price, size, and location. But realistically, you can expect to achieve only two of those three things. So you may get a great deal on a huge house, but it might not be in the best neighborhood. Or you may find a nice-size house in a great neighborhood, but your down payment is a bit higher than you were hoping for. Or else you may find a home in the right neighborhood at the right price, but it’s a tiny bit, um, cozy.
4. Do your homework
Once you find a home you love and make an offer that’s accepted, you may be eager to move in. But don’t be hasty. Don’t purchase a home or make any payments , and add some contingencies to your contract—which basically means you have the right to back out of the deal if something goes horribly wrong.
The most common contract contingency is the which allows you to request a resolution for issues (e.g., a weak foundation or leaky roof) found by a professional.
5. Know your tax credit options
The first-time home buyer tax credit may be no more, but there are a number of tax breaks new homeowners may not be aware of. The biggie: Mortgage interest deduction is a boon for brand which are typically interest-heavy. If you purchased discount points for your mortgage, essentially pre-paying your interest, these are also deductible. Some states and municipalities may offer mortgage credit certification, which allows first-time home buyers to claim a tax credit for some of the mortgage interest paid. Check with your Realtor and local government to see if this credit applies to you.
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