According to Investing.com, the housing market in the United States is finally showing signs that it’s back on solid ground. Real estate foreclosures are down, home starts are up, and sales, at least for the moment, are healthy. One of the most encouraging signs of a healthier market are the size of homes. Home sizes have increased by 11%, marking a trend of Americans spending more to get more out of their houses.
Even if there hasn’t been a better time to seriously consider real estate listings in the last five years, first time home buyers still find the process daunting. There is so much to consider when buying your home, ranging from the price to the condition to the neighborhood. If you’re one of the many Americans who are taking the recovered housing market as a sign that it’s finally time to buy your own home, there are some things you should keep in mind to make sure your real estate search is successful.
Four Tips for First Time Home Buyers on the Real Estate Search
1. Know What You Can Afford
For MSN Real Estate, the first step to a successful home buying experience is to crunch the numbers and figure out what you can really afford to spend. Analysts recommend that you not spend any more than 28% of your monthly income on mortgage payments, being sure to leave yourself plenty of room for normal and emergency expenditures. The last thing you want to do is get in over your head and join the ranks of people who run into trouble with foreclosure.
2. Get Proof of Inspection
Most homeowners will have their homes inspected before trying to sell. This ensures they spot any problems and get them repaired before listing the property, potentially bringing the sale price up. When looking to buy a home, you should ask to see a copy of the inspection paperwork. Doing so, you can protect yourself from any expensive surprises after the home has been put into your name.
3. Look to Local Realtors for Help
As About.com points out, rare is the first time home buyer who knows exactly what to look for when buying a home. Local tax rates, zoning laws, remodeling and repair costs: these are just a few of the things you need to consider during the real estate search. Realtors are educated on the laws, taxes, and other pertinent information that applies to their area of sales. Whether you’re looking for a luxury home or something more modest, a realtor can help you make an educated decision. Further, they often know of houses going on the market before they’re listed, giving you the first shot at something perfect for your taste.
4. Look into Assistance from the FHA
If you lack strong credit history or your income gives your lender pause when reviewing your application for a mortgage, you can often find help from the Federal Housing Administration. As Forbes suggests, the FHA doesn’t make loans as much as they give guarantees to banks that they will act as your backer. This extra boost of confidence is often enough to convince a lender to give a first time homeowner a shot.