You Ask, We Answer: What Should I Know as a First-Time Homebuyer?
If you’re thinking about becoming a Connecticut homeowner for the first time, congratulations! With over 50 years in the Connecticut real estate business, we know firsthand how momentous buying a first home can be. And because we’ve helped countless homebuyers navigate the process for the first time, we have some helpful tips to get you started on your home buying journey.
Start by addressing your finances
The first and most important step to take as a first-time homebuyer is to address your finances. Figuring out how much you’ll need for a down payment and what kinds of costs you’ll incur to close on your new home can feel overwhelming–but it doesn’t have to be.
Begin by meeting with mortgage lenders to understand how your credit score, income, and the current interest rates will impact the mortgage amount for which you qualify. If any of your finances need to be addressed before applying for a mortgage, the lender will be able to give you feedback on what to improve and how best to make those improvements. Interviewing with at least two mortgage lenders is always a good idea; rates and fees can differ from bank to bank, and you want to make sure you get the best rate possible.
Understanding the price range of houses you can afford will be crucial in your first-time homebuyer hunt for the right house.
Then, find a Calcagni Real Estate agent
Once you have your mortgage pre-approval, it’s time to contact a Calcagni Real Estate agent. As Connecticut’s premier independently-owned real estate company for over 50 years, Calcagni agents understand the market better than anyone. Plus, Calcagni agents live in the communities where they work–which means they have the inside scoop on what their communities may offer a new buyer. (Like where to get the best cup of coffee!)
Realtors have immediate access to listings when they hit the market; they’re also an integral part of helping you find houses that meet your criteria. Once you have a list of houses you want to see, your Calcagni Real Estate agent will begin scheduling showings on properties and accompanying you through them. When you find a house you want to make an offer on, your Calcagni Real Estate agent will submit your offer to the listing agent, and negotiations will begin.
At every point along the way, your Realtor will help you manage the homebuying process, helping you find a home inspector and informing you when to schedule an inspection, walking you through the bank’s appraisal, and so on. Having access to a real estate professional from Calcagni Real Estate can help keep you sane and on track to close on your first home–and that can feel invaluable when you’re in the thick of it!
Streamline your must-haves and nice-to-haves
Communicating with your Calcagni Real Estate agent about your home “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” is an important part of your working relationship. This will help your Realtor find houses that best meet your needs, ensuring you aren’t traipsing around seeing homes that you’d never buy.
Your lists of “must-haves” may evolve once you begin seeing homes, and that’s ok! Where once you may have thought you needed a bathtub in every bathroom, for instance, you may discover you actually don’t mind if one bathroom has a tub and the other, a standing shower. Or, you may realize that you need a finished basement to use as a workshop or home office. A “nice-to-have” like a skylight would certainly be a bonus, but it won’t be a determining factor in buying a home, should the rest of your criteria be met.
Don’t be shy in communicating your wants and needs to your Calcagni Real Estate agent, and don’t be afraid to let them know if your needs or wants have changed during your home search. Understanding where you’re coming from will help your Realtor to streamline your options and find the houses that are the best fit for you.
Get to know the area
Falling in love with a home is part of the first-time home buying process, but it’s also important to consider where that home is located and how it will impact your daily life.
Your town and neighborhood are just as important as the type of home you buy, and getting to know your surrounding area can help you make the most informed decision in buying that home. Do you have to commute for work? Perhaps being in a town with easy highway access would make your life easier. Do you have children of school age? Your Calcagni Real Estate agent can pull a local schools report for you. Maybe you love to go out to eat: Try out the local restaurants.
Finding a home that meets your needs in a neighborhood and town that aligns with how you want to live can make your first-time home buying experience one you’ll enjoy for many years to come.