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What Every First-Time Buyer Needs to Know

Buying your first home is exciting, nerve-wracking, and maybe a little challenging. And no matter how much you research, it’s hard to know what to expect until you finally have those keys in hand! If you’re a first-time buyer in the Winston-Salem area, we have a few tips to get you on the right track.

5 First-Time Buyer Tips to Keep in Mind

Buying a home—especially if it’s your first—is a huge decision. There are plenty of factors to consider, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed before you even begin the process. If you’re looking for a little guidance, here are some pointers that can help you through every step of the transaction.

Get preapproved for a loan

Mortgage for first-time buyers

Before you even think about scheduling any showings, you need to find out what you can afford to spend on a home. To do that, you’ll want to get preapproved for a loan. Preapproval means that a mortgage lender has taken a look at your finances and outlined how much they’re willing to let you borrow.

To get preapproved, you’ll need to fill out an online application, authorize a credit check, and submit certain financial documents. From there, the lender will give you a letter that outlines the details of your potential loan.

Many agents and sellers won’t work with you if you don’t have a preapproval letter, so this should always be your first step!

Connect with a great local agent

First-time buyer on the phone

Once you have your preapproval letter in hand, it’s time to track down a local Triad real estate agent. Although it may be tempting to go with the first agent you find, it’s best to interview a few candidates before settling on the right one. It’s even better if they have experience with first-time buyers in the Winston-Salem area!

Outline what you want and need

Writing notes with coffee

Now it’s time for the fun part: searching for your first home! While it may be tempting to scroll aimlessly through new listings, you should always have a game plan. Take some time to outline your needs, wants, and would-likes for your future home. Remember—you shouldn’t spend any time looking at homes that don’t have your non-negotiables!

If you aren’t sure what to look for, your agent can help guide you in the right direction. They’ll also know whether or not you can afford certain features in your price range.

Narrow down a location

Pointing at a map

The Winston-Salem area features a wide variety of communities. Whether you’re looking for city excitement, small town charm, or rural bliss, you’ll have no trouble finding home in the Triad.

After settling on a specific community, go a step further and choose a few neighborhoods or subdivisions that catch your eye. Be sure to visit each location throughout the day and measure their proximity to work, schools, and other attractions. You can change a lot of things about a home, but location isn’t one of them!

Prepare for extra expenses

Hand holding cash

Many first-time buyers miscalculate the upfront costs that come with buying a home. In addition to your down payment, make sure you have enough saved for any extra expenses that could come your way.

Not sure what to expect? Earnest money, closing costs, property taxes, and home insurance could cost you a couple thousand dollars by the end of the sale. If you want to get a rough estimate of what to expect, just ask your agent!

Are You a First-Time Buyer?

If you’re a first-time buyer in the Winston-Salem area, Forsyth Realty would love to help you navigate every step of the process. We have plenty of resources to get you started, so just give us a call or browse our buyer tips for more information.

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