Now that the New Year is upon us, many of us have laid out what our goals will be for 2016. A very exciting goal for some is to purchase their first home. Although there are many things that go in to purchasing a home, these are my top 5 tips for first time homebuyers.

Tip #1: Get pre-approved
One of the most important steps in purchasing a home is knowing where you credit stands, and what you can afford. A pre-approval will answer these questions. This process tends to be the most daunting for new homebuyers, but is the best way to know what you can afford on paperBy getting pre-approved you’ll get a jump on the home buying process, and be ready to make an offer as soon as you’ve found your dream home. At Parkway Real Estate we work with many lenders that we trust, and can help find the perfect match for you.

Tip #2: Enslist a Buyer Agent that is a REALTOR®
Although shopping for homes on popular websites like Trulia and Zillow can be very convenient, the information you find there is not always accurate or up to date. By working with a licensed buyer agent, you have someone who knows the home buying process, looks out for your interests, and can give your access to the most current home listings given your search criteria via MLS (Multiple Listing Service). While all licensed agents can represent buyers throughout a particular state, it’s important to know that not every agent is a REALTOR®.

Tip #3: Explore the market
Once you have found your REALTOR®, and start receiving your MLS updates, you should experience open houses. Open houses are a great way take a look at those MLS listings in real life. Is an open layout important to you? Is having a fireplace a deal breaker? Do you want all bedrooms on the same level? These questions are easily answered with the more homes you tour. If you are unable to attend an open house, your REALTOR®can set up an individual time for you to see any properties that you are interested in.

Tip #4: Do not open additional lines of credit
Once you are pre-approved for a home loan, it is very important not to open any additional lines of credit, or make any large purchases. In other words, hold off on purchasing that furniture for your new home! This tip is important to follow even up to the closing of the sale. Any major changes to your financial statements could change your monthly payments, and/or debt ratios, and therefore change your purchasing power.

Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Whether you are a first time homebuyer, or are purchasing again, no stone should be left unturned. Now is not the time to hold your tongue. There have been some recent changes to real estate laws and regulations, as well as the federal interest rate. As a result, this has brought about changes to the real estate market. If there is ever anything that you don’t understand, or want to know more about, ask your agent. Their job is to help you navigate the home buying process, and advocate for your best interests.

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