by San Diego Realtor Chad Dannecker
Buying a home can be an overwhelming experience for the first-timer. It’s a step toward the unknown because, by definition, a first time buyer has never done this before. But just like any worthwhile endeavor, homeownership requires overcoming fear and uncertainty on many levels. Here is advice on how to overcome fears that home buyers face every day.
Improving your Credit Score
If you’ve ever experienced repossession, bankruptcy or debt collections actions, chances are you cringe at the idea of having your credit report pulled. As a result, you may put off making any major purchases, especially a home. If your credit is less than perfect, you’re not alone, and have no reason to be embarrassed. In fact, facing your credit report is the only way you’ll be able to truly assess what’s on it and make a plan to improve it. Go ahead and take a look at it now so you can begin building it up if need be. Once this worry is behind you, other things that might be holding you back will be much easier to deal with.
Home Maintenance: You Can Do It
You could be worried about how you would pay for household repairs and maintenance as a homeowner. Maintenance costs don’t have to get you down, as you can reduce them by having a home inspection performed, learning to do basic repairs yourself and asking the seller for a home warranty to cover unexpected repairs during the first year.
You should also know what type of maintenance is required by your homeowner’s association before you make a purchase. That way, you can make sure you don’t get in over your head by choosing a property that requires a great deal of additional upkeep.
Finding a Great Mortgage Lender
Reputable lenders far outweigh the dishonest ones, even if the bad ones get all the attention. The possibility of a dishonest lender shouldn’t stop you from realizing your dreams of homeownership. Here are some tips:
- Do plenty of research on different types of mortgages so you can compare the various ones
- Check out the mortgage company’s licensing status and complaint history with NMLS.
- Find out what changes have recently been made to the law to protect consumers
- Stick with a traditional mortgage whenever possible, as these tend to be safer
Keeping the Mortgage Right-Side Up
Many homeowners have found themselves upside down on their mortgages in recent years, which is something that was virtually unheard of in the past. There are ways to mitigate the risk, including:
- Choosing a home in a low crime area where the majority of residents are homeowners, as houses in these neighborhoods are more likely to appreciate over time.
- Looking into future developments in a given area by visiting your local zoning board. That way, you can discover whether or not certain construction is set to take place that might lower your property value.
- Putting as much money down on your home as possible.
- Making additional payments toward the principle each month.
Being Satisfied with your Purchase
Some people put off buying a home because they are afraid they might regret their purchase later. This is not usually something that plagues people who have done adequate research and carefully defined their wants and needs ahead of time.
To prevent buyer’s remorse, become pre-approved for a mortgage so you will know exactly what you can afford. Visit different neighborhoods at night and on the weekends to see what they are really like. Drive their streets during rush hour so you’ll know what your daily commute might entail. Don’t place pressure on yourself to buy quickly, as you are more likely to regret your decision if you do. Take your time and pay attention to every detail, and you are apt to be satisfied with your decision for years to come.
These fears actually strike a good number of people, so you shouldn’t feel discouraged if you share these same worries. The key is not to let these fears overcome you and stop you from making one of the most important decisions of your life. Careful planning is the key to putting these fears behind you so you can eventually realize the American dream of home ownership.
Chad Dannecker is the team leader of Dannecker & Associates. With more than 40 years of local real estate experience, Dannecker & Associates has established themselves as the leading source of real estate expertise in San Diego.