How To Find Your First Home

The search for a home in the U.S. can be extremely intimidating. Some homebuyers may think it is impossible to find a home that’s right for their needs, within their …

The search for a home in the U.S. can be extremely intimidating. Some homebuyers may think it is impossible to find a home that’s right for their needs, within their price-range and a good investment, and if they are moving to a new area the entire home buying process seems even more overwhelming. I certainly experienced such emotions when purchasing my first property in Puerto Rico.

Homebuyers can save time, money and energy during this process if they prepare properly and use the right resources. Here are the necessary steps and some related tips to finding a home in the U.S.:

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  1. Determine how much house/property you qualify for. Get a professional to pre-qualify you so you know what that magic number is, and always look for a purchase price less than 10-20% of that number. It’s a waste of time to look for a property to purchase if you can’t afford it.
  2. Make a list of the items the property must have that are important and affordable. This includes:
    • Number of bedrooms/bathrooms.
    • Square footage. Remember: the more square feet, the more expensive!
    • Parking: Can you park all your vehicles on the property?
    • Garage: A handy place for storage and protecting your second largest purchase.
    • Kitchen: It’s a high-traffic area, so a bigger kitchen is nice if you can get one. I have experienced small ones, so this one is important for me
  3. Start looking. Many people go straight to a real estate agent to help them look for a property. This is a fine option, but there are other avenues available to the first-time homebuyer:
    • Investor Properties. Investors are looking for a quick sale and profit so they can move on to the next property. This limits your choices, but you can save a lot of money if the investor is willing to make a deal. There are many organizations available throughout the United States that attract investors. Here are a few:
      • If you are in Miami or are interested in Miami property, you can find investors at Miami Real Estate Investors Association (MREIA)
      • For other organizations check the internet. Google "Real Estate Clubs" or "Real Estate Investor Associations"
      • Or check out http://www.creonline.com/ and click on the menu link:"Real Estate Clubs".
    • Foreclosures. Right now you can get awesome deals on pre-foreclosure properties, but there is a learning curve, with a lot of real estate jargon and a complex process. First-timers should seek advice from a foreclosure coach or take a course on the subject.
    • For Sale By Owner (FSBO). This is not the best option for buyers who want to negotiate a deal. The owner of the house does not want to pay commission and probably does not want to pay for anything else. They are less likely to deal with you. If this is the case, state your offer and walk away. They may call you later.

There are so many ways to pick up a deal, and I highlighted some but not all. You can contact your local Real Estate Investment Club for more information. They usually provide seminars and workshop events on investment strategies that allow you to find a deal and save money when finding a house.

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