We’ve all been there, compulsively checking Zillow, comparing prices by neighborhood, perusing the listings even though we don’t intend to buy.
If you’ve come to the point where something is telling you it’s time to become a homeowner, but the time isn’t right, I’m here to tell you — that’s OK!
Even if you’re not ready to buy a house today and you intend to be a home-owner at any point, it’s better to prepare sooner rather than later. I promise!
Here are four things that will help you become better prepared to buy your first home:
- Handle the Financials: That means that you need to have your credit in good condition, cash on hand, and a pre-approved loan.
It’s also essential to have some additional savings set aside, because you’ll not only need to make the down payment and closing costs, but, as some first-time homebuyers are surprised to find, you also need savings just in case there are some things in your new home that you want (or need) to fix up.
- Meet a Local Lender: I can recommend a few options around Gaithersburg, who will go over everything with you: assets, income, savings, etc. This way, you’ll know what kind of loan you can get approved for, and set yourself up to get pre-approved. (The last thing that you want to do is take a look at home with your realtor if you’re not recommended for the home that you’re looking at.)
- Consider Your Limits: Determine your expenses to see what kind of mortgage payment would be convenient for you — that will give you a better picture of how far (or close) you are to being ready to own your first home. Determine how much money you spend every month on your mortgage. Just because you can afford it on paper does not mean that you want to go past your limit in real life. Lay everything out and see what is realistic.
- Choose a Location: Take a look at different neighborhoods in your city (this is the fun part!). Maryland is absolutely bursting with variety and choice, and each area has its own perks to choose from. My go-to counties are Montgomery, Howard, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Darnestown, Rockville, Bethesda, Potomac, Olney, Manassas, Falls Church, Reston, Herndon, Arlington, Ashburn, and the surrounding areas.
Your decision should reflect your priorities. Ask yourself: Do you need a shorter commute to work? Do you want to be closer to your children’s school? Perhaps you want to be in a quieter area with less traffic, or be better positioned to get out of town and enjoy nature.
If you’re planning to buy a home in Maryland, and you’d like some guidance as you develop your plan, I can help! I have over twenty years of experience buying and selling homes in the area. I am passionate about helping first-time homebuyers land the house of their dreams.