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I'm A First-Time Homebuyer, What Should I Do First?

Five essential pieces of advice for first-time homebuyers in Boston, and one bonus tip.

Boston First-Time Homeowners

  1. Make sure you're ready for the commitment! Before you buy, make sure you're financially and personally ready. Save money for a down payment. Consider the kind of mortgage you'll get: fixed-rate vs. adjustable. Also, remember, there is the mortgage, but there are also taxes, homeowner's insurance, Homeowners Association (HOA) fees, and other monthly costs you should keep in mind. Pay down your debt, check your credit score and credit report. And make sure you have some money left in the bank for any post-closing expenses.

  2. Start gathering your paperwork, including your federal income tax records, recent paycheck stubs, canceled checks for rent or utility bill payments, and anything else a mortgage lender might want to see, like credit card and student-loan information.

  3. Scout out where you want to live. It's not enough to just have a general geographical area. Remember, different communities have different tax rates, and building plans for your neighborhood may affect what you're allowed to do with your home.

  4. Drill down during a home inspection. A good home inspector will go over the basics of how the house functions, what you should be aware of immediately, and what you may have to keep in mind for further down the line. It's an opportunity for you, the buyer, to learn a little bit more about the property.

  5. Read through your Settlement Statement and ask questions during the closing. This is, after all, your last chance to make changes to your paperwork!

  6. Bonus: get an agent! An agent makes everything easier.

Featured image courtesy of Mark Moz and flickr.

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