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What Every First Time Buyer Should Know

Buying a home is one of the largest financial commitments a person can make in his or her lifetime. It's especially critical for first-time buyers to make informed decisions about the investment that they are about to make.

Coldwell Banker® offer these tips to first-time homebuyers to help make the process easier.

Define your wants versus your needs. Making a list of wants and needs before beginning the search for a home can make the entire process less overwhelming.

Check your credit rating. "Being approved for a mortgage is critical and a very easy process," said Lynn Bodenheimer, assistant manager, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chesterfield, MO. "With Coldwell Banker Mortgage, it is done with just a phone call from either an agent's office or anywhere there is a telephone. Having a pre-approval in hand affords a buyer strength in negotiating, particularly important in a highly competitive marketplace, which many first-time home buyers encounter."

Investigate the neighborhood. Where are the schools and places of worship? How far is the nearest hospital or grocery store? Is commercial garbage collection available or do homeowners dispose of their own trash? These are basic, yet important, questions that some first timers may not think of until after closing on a property.

Be an informed buyer. Some neighborhoods have deed restrictions such as exterior maintenance, lawn care or fencing. "All too often, buyers aren't aware of restrictions that apply to their use of the property until it's too late," said Cheryl Kumma, sales associate, Coldwell Banker Bain Associates in Bellevue, WA. "Buyers should check with their real estate agent so they understand what restrictions are enforced in the area they are interested in."

Insist on a home inspection. Attend property inspections, be aware of environmental concerns and ask questions. "A small investment of time and money could save buyers a lot of headaches down the road," said Kumma. Look for a property with a home warranty. A Home Warranty offers a comprehensive insured home warranty that decreases the likelihood of a sale failing due to unexpected surprises.

Get help with the details. Coordinating these and the many details of a move can be overwhelming for even the most experienced homebuyer. Look for a real estate company that can help coordinate related services.

Don't rush. "Whether they're just excited about moving into their new home or concerned about the possibility of hikes in interest rates, many first-time buyers hurry important decisions and overlook property flaws," said Bodenheimer. "Purchasing a home is an important investment and buyers need to thoroughly think through the process to avoid making choices they will regret in the future."


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