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Yotta Homes understands home buying, and we know many tough but crucial decisions need to be made. Sometimes for first time home buyers, the process can get downright overwhelming. Never fear, though! We are here to help. We’ve compiled a handy little first-time homebuyer’s guide that runs down what you’ll need to get your ducks in a row, complete with plenty of resources.

Get Financed: Understanding Loan Options 

Unless you plan on paying cash for the home, your first order of business should be to contact a mortgage specialist. But, as with anything, don’t pick the first one that pops up in Google. You aren’t obligated to work with the one your bank provides, either.

There are many different loan types to consider and shopping around to find the right loan for you, and the mortgage specialist you feel has your best interests at heart, makes two things possible. One, you will gain a better understanding of the loans out there. Two, you will understand which option meets your long and short-term goals, and you will be prepared to identify the best deal. Every loan consists of three main yet distinctive factors. One factor defines the loan’s rate, another its type, and the final factor indicates its size.

Real Estate Agent or DIY 

We previously detailed the pros and cons of first-time homebuyers working with a real estate agent versus flying solo. If you have decided you’d like the help of a professional, it is important to take the time to find an agent that is right for you. Buying a home is a deeply personal experience. Ask friends and family in the area for their recommendations or check out professional websites.

Features: Create a list and check it twice 

Before you even begin your home search, you’ll want to create a list that prioritizes “must haves,” “nice to haves,” “neutral,” and “absolute no’s.” This list will allow you to organize the criteria you’ll place on each home in your search and help you compare your findings. It’s also important to understand that as you go through the process, the list will likely evolve as your preferences change. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Space:

Consider what space you’ll need for the future you define. It may be based on the next 5 or 10 years, or it may be based on your phase of life. Are you newlyweds, starting a family, combining families, or empty nesters? How big does your house need to be to accommodate this future?

  • Features:

Make a list of what your perfect home will provide you and your family. Do you need a two-car garage? Do you need a fenced in yard for your fur-babies? Will you need handicap railings or ramps?

  • Energy efficiency:

Many first-time home buyers don’t realize the effect their home’s utility bills will have on their monthly budget. Larger houses will take more energy, and older homes can often present issues if they haven’t been updated. Make a list of energy efficient features to look for in homes like Energy Star appliances, solar paneling, or tank- less water heaters. In a previous post, we discussed the money you could potentially save with an energy efficient home.

  • Schools:

Depending on your stage of life or future needs, this is important for many families. Whether working with an agent or searching for homes online, school district zones are readily available. Sites like GreatSchools.org are a great way to compare public, private, and even some daycares in your area with very thorough rankings and reviews.

  • Commute times/local transportation:

Do you drive to work, take a bus, participate in a ride share program, or take the train? Your home’s accessibility to these options is important. Some sites like Trulia will provide a “commute calculator” that you can use during your search.

  • Community & Neighborhood:

With so many community features to think of—pools, clubhouses, playgrounds, and parks—make a list of the type of neighborhood and community you want to be a part of. Also, make a list of how close you feel comfortable being to the local gas station, grocery store, post office, emergency services, and hospital. Nightlife, fitness centers, shopping, and restaurants all become key factors to consider as well. Both your home and neighborhood should meet your lifestyle so write these details down!

Prepped and Ready to Roll! 

No matter the path you choose to finding your dream home, prioritizing your needs and wants will quickly become second nature the more homes you view and visit. Before you know it, you’ll be unpacking boxes and settling into the house that you will turn into a “home sweet home.”

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