Congratulations! You’re buying your first home! It’s always exciting when you’re buying a home… especially your first one. It can also be filled with a bit of anxiety and uncertainty. Here are Nine Tips and Steps to take if you’re a Northwest Arkansas First Time Home Buyers…

1. Figure out what you can afford.
There are many reasons to know what you can afford and several ways to figure it. While a bank will base this purely off income, credit, and liabilities; you may want to consider your lifestyle as well.

Do you like to take lots trips and vacations?
Do you love to shop and spend money?
Do you like to save a large portion of your money?

These questions will help you define what the price point of your home should be. There are also the normal factors like… square footage, number of bedrooms, and location to consider as well.

2. Know your rights as a buyer and a home owner.
You have rights specifically laid out by state and federal governments regarding the purchase of a home. Here are some resources you should read and understand:

  • Fair Housing
  • RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act)
  • FHA (Federal Housing Administration)
  • Predatory Lending

3. Shop for a loan, find the best rate and terms.
Not all lenders are created equal. While some would have you think that their rates differ very little, the fact is that rates for the same borrower can differ by a full percentage point or more. While the average is probably less than 0.5% it is still enough to put some effort into finding a lender that can save you some money and, most importantly, that you feel comfortable with. You can get our list of preferred lenders above.

4. Learn about home buying programs that are available.

  • FHA and VA loan programs
  • Rural Development (RD) loan programs
  • Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program

There are so many programs available and they change so often that contacting a Realtor® is your best option.

5. Shop for a home
This is the fun part! Pick a Realtor® early in the process to help you save time and money. They will help you…

  • Put together a wish list
  • Create a home-shopping checklist
  • Help you find homes for sale through the MLS, banks, or private sellers
  • Help you make a decision, weighing pros and cons of each home

6. Make an offer
Your Realtor will help you make an offer that is both attractive to the seller and with terms and conditions that are in your best interest. There may be negotiation, counter-offers, even rejection, but your Agent will help you through the process until both parties have agreed on a price and terms.

7. Get a home inspection
Make sure your offer is contingent on a home inspection. In Arkansas, you have 10 days to have a home inspected after the offer is accepted. It can help you avoid buying a home that is in need of major repairs or is unsafe in some fashion that is not readily apparent. Here’s 10 Questions to Ask a Home Inspector.

8. Shop for homeowner’s insurance
You’ll have to have insurance if you have a loan and would want it even if you are paying cash. Homeowners insurance is easy to get and very affordable. Consider insuring your home for it’s replacement value (higher) instead of the purchase price (usually lower)… the two may be very different in today’s market.

9. Close that house!
It’s time to sign the papers. You and your Agent have crossed every T and dotted every i. The moving truck is packed (or on it’s way). Remember to bring a cashier’s check to closing along with a good attitude. Signing the papers to close your house can take anywhere from ten minutes to two hours depending on the loan and title paperwork involved. Make sure you get the keys before you leave and congratulations… you’re a homeowner now!

If you are considering buying a home, we’d love to help guide you through the process. Contact us if you like, or continue reading hundreds more helpful articles on our blog and give us a call when you have a question. You can also search for homes by clicking on the search icon in the upper left of the site. Thanks for reading and good luck!