Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 2/5/2019

Are you thinking about buying your first home but completely overwhelmed with where to even begin?

Buying your first home is a big, and exciting, decision. Itís also one that comes with a big learning curve you need to get down quickly.

There are many steps to the process and even though your agent is always here to help you and give advice itís critical you do your own research. You want to be able to take action quickly when you find your dream home. To do this you will need to be able to keep up with the process by having everything done neatly, orderly and on time.

So where to start?

Start here:

Start by sitting down with your budget. What do your current finances look like? What sort of wiggle room for spending do you have? What can you afford for a monthly mortgage payment?

And perhaps more importantly, do you have enough saved to cover a down payment and closing costs? Depending on which programs you qualify for you donít necessarily have to put the traditional 20% down. With that said, you should know how much you would need to put down and if you have money in the bank to cover those costs.

Smooth out any credit snags. Your credit score doesnít need to be out of this world, but it should reflect that you are actively improving and financially responsible.

Find a mortgage professional you trust to help you make the right moves throughout the process. Again, you want to be able to take action quickly once you find a home you love. And you donít want to miss out because your mortgage professional hasnít prioritized you.

You will also want to have a preapproval prepared, with the help of your mortgage professional, when you are ready to start looking at houses. Having a pre-approval in hand shows your agent that you are serious about this process.

Calculate the costs. Yes, more math! You will want to take into consideration real estate taxes, HOA fees, home repairs and maintenance as you refine your budget to see which homes make the most sense for your lifestyle.

When looking at homes focus on the ďbonesĒ of the house. Look past paint, hideous wallpaper and yes even the granite countertops. Are there enough bedrooms? Bathrooms? A laundry room? Is there enough garage space and driveway? Do you like the floor plan? The neighborhood?

Know whatís important to you. In an ideal world, you will find a home that ticks off every item on your wishlist. And not to say that itís entirely impossible, but know which items on your list are negotiable. Which are you willing to budge on and which are make or break?





Posted by JoAnn M. Drabble on 1/8/2019

If you're planning on making the transition from apartment renter to homeowner in the near future, you can be sure that the experience will be both exciting and challenging!

While some first-time home buyers are fairly well prepared for the changes that accompany homeownership, others encounter a myriad of unexpected expenses, neighbor problems, and household emergencies. Keeping surprises to a minimum and knowing how to handle difficulties when they come up are two strategies for keeping your life on an even keel in your new home.

When taking your initial plunge into homeownership, here are a few things to keep in mind to avoid problems and get the most from your new home.

Budgeting for expenses: When you're a renter or living with your parents, three things you generally don't have to concern yourself with are home repairs, appliance replacement, and yard maintenance costs. The longer list of homeowner expenses that could take a bite out of your paycheck or bank account includes furnace and AC services, chimney cleaning, snow removal, landscaping, exterminator services, plumbing leaks, and lighting installation. Many first-time home buyers also need to buy items like a lawn mower, clothes washer and dryer, and furniture. Although you can delay or spread out some of these expenses, they do need to be considered when creating a household budget.

Privacy is a factor: Depending on the proximity of houses, the openness of your yard, and the extent to which you want to get to know your neighbors, you might find yourself wanting to have some fencing installed or privacy hedges planted. Ideally, these are alterations you'd want to have done shortly after you move in -- if not before. That way, next door neighbors will have less of a tendency to take it personally when you erect barriers between you and them. And speaking of privacy, curtains and blinds are often a priority that needs to be taken care of immediately. While some homes for sale may include window treatments, there's a good chance your home decorating shopping list may include curtains!

Neighbor relations matter: If you happen to have neighbors who are easy going, relatively quiet, and likable, then consider yourself very fortunate! Being a good neighbor is, of course, a two-way street, so try to keep your noise level down to a "dull roar" and be the kind of neighbor you'd like them to be! That's no guarantee, of course, that everyone's going to get along famously and be the best of friends, but mutual respect and showing a modicum of friendliness to neighbors does help establish a cordial neighborhood atmosphere.

By creating a realistic household budget, being neighborly, and factoring in your need for privacy, you can begin setting the stage for a satisfying and fulfilling homeowner experience.







JoAnn M. Drabble