Buying Your First Home In Dallas
It’s hard to adequately describe the feelings one experiences while buying their first home. It’s excitement mixed with apprehension and elation. Fortunately, it’s easy to work through these emotions and make a smart home buying decision when you follow the advice I’ve outlined below!
Financing is Your First Step
When you first decide to buy a home in Dallas, it’s tempting to open up Zillow or Realtor and start skimming through pages of houses. However, the first thing you should skim through is your financial records.
You’ll want your finances to be well-prepared for the costs of buying a home. Start by paying down existing, high-interest debts, boosting your credit score, and saving your money for a down payment of at least 20 percent of the home’s value. For down payments of less than 20 percent, you may have to take on private mortgage insurance (PMI) from your lender.
With your finances in order, you can start the pre-approval and pre-qualification process. Many first-time homebuyers confuse these two or conflate them to be the same thing when in reality they are quite distinct from each other.
- Pre-approval is how much of a loan the bank will guarantee for your new home.
- Pre-qualification lets you know how much you can afford for a new home in Dallas.
Being pre-qualified for a home loan is a great first step, but real estate agents and home sellers won’t take your offers seriously until you’re pre-approved. Getting pre-approved for a loan also tells you just how much home you can really afford. This will come in handy when you start home shopping so you aren’t looking outside your budget. That said, make sure your home buying budget also includes additional costs like inspections, repairs, closing costs, and real estate agent fees.
Begin the Search for Your New Homes
Here’s the part that everyone loves. With your finances and pre-approval in hand, you can start looking for your new dream home in Dallas. You can make the search easier by thinking about what your needs and wants for your home look like. Consider factors like:
- How many bedrooms do you need?
- How many bathrooms do you need?
- What’s your ideal amount of square footage?
- What amenities do you want nearby? Like schools, stores, etc.
These factors should be seen as “non-negotiable,” as in your prospective house has to have these features to even be considered. Next, you can start to think about the features you would like your new home to have. Keep these other factors in mind:
- Does the home have multiple garages?
- Are the basement and attic finished?
- Are there solar panels or energy efficient devices?
- Is there a pool or community pool nearby?
Find a Real Estate in Dallas
So, you’ve got a budget and a home in mind, now what? Now it’s time to call in the experts. When you’re looking for a new home for sale in Dallas, it’s best to work with a real estate agent like me who knows the area and its markets very well. A real estate agent can help connect you with the resources and materials you need to make the home buying process much smoother.
Why You Need a Real Estate Agent
It’s not uncommon for people to try and buy their first home without the assistance of a real estate agent. Often, these individuals feel that the price they pay for the help of a real estate agent doesn’t reflect the services they offer and that they would rather save the money. However, the opposite is often true. Without the help of a trusted real estate agent in the Dallas area, you may end up paying too much for your new home.
Rely on Their Negotiation Prowess
That’s because real estate agents are more than just purveyors and surveyors of homes. We’re also skilled negotiators, and you’ll want one on your side when you start making offers on new homes. Indeed, homebuyers who aren’t partnered with a real estate agent typically spend $10,000 more than asking price for a home than those who do work with an agent.
They Can Help You Find the Right Home
In addition to saving you money, a good real estate agent can help save you time. While Zillow, Google, and even Craigslist have made the home buying process easier for anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection, these sites don’t always have the best homes on the market. In utilizing the MLS home listings, real estate agents can find you more homes in more places, and at better prices. Without their exhaustive resources, you may miss out on your dream home and not even realize it.
Starting the Home Buying Process
After working with a real estate agent to find your ideal home, it’s time to put in a bid. This is one of the most difficult and nerve-racking parts of the home buying experience, but as your real estate agent, I’m here to help. I’ll help you run a comparative market analysis (CMA) that will allow you to determine the right price to offer on the home. Of course, even the most competitive of offers will be accepted right away. For instance, your offer may be lower than another potential buyer’s, or you might have contingencies within your offer that don’t thrill the seller. It’s during this process that your real estate agent will help you with the negotiations to make sure your interests are maintained and you get the best deal possible.
Negotiating With Other Sellers
Even with the assistance of a real estate agent, negotiations can be difficult. First-time buyers commonly run into problems during this phase of the home buying process. But it’s in this phase, more so than others, where it’s important to take your time and be thorough. Given the enormous financial costs of buying a home, you don’t want to make a mistake that will cost you later. But once again, your agent will help you make the right choices. You can make the negotiation easier by doing some of these things while avoiding others:
What To Do When Negotiating
Be ready to go back and forth on your offer with the seller — after all, they’re trying to get the most money for their home as they can. Of course, you’re trying to save as much as you can while getting the most amount of house per dollar. It’s important to have some leverage when discussing your offer.
You can gain that leverage by being an informed buyer. Work with your agent to perform some market research in the neighborhood and area that your potential new home is in. One of the easiest things to find is the length of time the house has been on the market. A seller with a home that has sat on the market for months may be more willing to sell with a little coaxing. There are a few reasons that homes tend to sit and wait on the market, including:
- The house is vastly overpriced
- Nearby new home construction is drawing more attention and causing increased traffic and pollution in the area
- The neighborhood has a high concentration of foreclosed or abandoned properties
- Home values are falling in the surrounding area
If you’re trying to find out more about why the home has sat on the market for so long, you can ask the seller about their reasons for selling, why others in the neighborhood have sold their home, and what environmental factors might have encouraged them to sell their home.
The more information you have about the home and the seller, the more leverage you have during your negotiations on the price.
What To Avoid When Negotiating
Of course, the seller is trying to find out about you so they have their own leverage during the negotiating. The trick to closing on a house is to perfect your poker face. You don’t want to let the seller to know how much you want to buy the house. Even if you feel like there’s never been a better option for you than the one you’re trying to buy, you’ll want to appear aloof and professional. That way, the seller won’t try and manipulate the price to match your excitement to buy the home.
Additionally, it’s best to avoid these other mistakes when negotiating on a home:
- Don’t let the seller rush your decision making process
- Don’t tell them how excited or anxious you are to buy the home
- Keep your financial status and records to yourself
- Avoid telling the seller or their agent your maximum price for the house and your down payment amount
You can mitigate the seller’s leverage over you by working closely with your real estate agent in Dallas and to take your time. Make sure an inspection is performed on the house, and don’t rush any step of the process.
Your Mortgage Options for Homes in Dallas
For most, paying for a home out-of-pocket simply isn’t feasible, so you’ll likely need some financial assistance. A mortgage is one way to get the house you need. Of course, there are several types of mortgages available to you. Fortunately, Alisa Chakheeva can help you find a mortgage lender that meets your needs.
Fixed Rate Loans
This is a standard loan for those who are looking to stay in their new home for the long-term. This monthly payments of this type of mortgage do not change with time. However, the interest rate and payment rate also never goes down. The interest rate at the time the loan is agreed to is the rate that you will have to deal with during the course of the loan. If interest rates are low, a fixed rate loan is an ideal financial solution for buying a home.
Adjustable Rate Mortgages
The opposite of fixed rate mortgages, the rates on this type of mortgage can change. Often, the introductory rate for an ARM is lower than fixed-rate mortgages. But with time, these rates will change to match interest rates. While you might get a low rate initially, your rate could climb with time. Each lender will have their own formula to determine just how much interest they charge you, so it’s important to understand that formula. An adjustable rate mortgage is great for those who aren’t planning to spend years and years in their home.
For those that qualify, a government loan is an affordable way to own a home. They include FHA loans for low-income families, as well as VA loans for military service members and their spouses.
Work With Alisa Chakheeva Today
Ready to buy a new home in Dallas? Then it’s time to give me, Alisa Chakheeva a call. With years of experience, I know all of the nuances and intricacies of the Dallas housing market and will put my skills to use to help you find your new home. Contact me today to set up an appointment so we can get you into your dream home in Dallas!