Owning your dream home is a realistic goal for most Americans, but buying your first house can be an intimidating prospect. The home-buying process can be one of the most exciting times of your life, but it can also be one of the most nerve-racking and outright terrifying experiences as well. But this anxiety is completely normal, and anyone who has never been through the process before will need lots of guidance, patience, and planning in order to succeed.
The Return of Ownership
Because of the stress involved with buying a home in modern America, many young adults have chosen to rent well into their 30’s. But that trend has begun to shift over the last couple of years, and homeownership is again becoming a critical element of the American Dream.
While there are a number of complexities and responsibilities that come with buying a house, there are also countless benefits of doing so. With changes to the economy and financial climate, many young people are now weighing these benefits and realizing that the advantages of owning a home make it worth the risk and commitment that it involves. While specific reasons for doing so will obviously vary according to the individual person, some of the common benefits of ownership that are constant for any person include:
- Financial stability
- Setting down roots and/or starting a family
- Financial investment (equity)
- Rite of passage into adulthood
- Independence and privacy
If you have decided that it is time to make the monumental leap from renting to homeownership, you will need to fully understand the steps involved with the process and ensure that you are ready. Proper education and planning will be the most crucial first steps to any major financial decision, and buying a first house is likely the biggest financial move of your life so far. Unfortunately, it is easy to rush into the process and overlook critical elements early on that could come back to bite you before you sign the papers.
“The first step is to take a thorough and honest overview of your own financial situation and ensure that you are ready for the responsibility of owning your own home,” says Cindy Bunch, a leading real estate agent near Atlanta.
You will need to be realistic and always figure conservatively when deciding how much you can afford to spend, and try to take into account any foreseeable changes that are likely to occur in the near future (i.e., job changes, marriage, children, etc.).
Since this is your first time buying a house, you will need to rely on the help, advice and experience of those who are familiar with the process. Family, friends and others who are close to you can be important resources to answer any questions and guide you through this unfamiliar terrain.
In addition to family, you need to find the right professional people who are trustworthy and experienced in helping first-time home-buyers. Finding the right real estate agent and mortgage professional are also important steps in the entire process, and you should not rush to the first name that shows up on Google. Ask around, read reviews, do your homework and try to find someone who specializes in helping people with your specific needs.
Once you have weighed the pros and cons of ownership, taken an honest and thorough evaluation of your finances, asked for help from friends and family and found the right real estate professionals, you are ready to begin the process in earnest.