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  Gary Nagurka


Buying your first home can be a frightening and daunting experience, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, it can actually be enjoyable, if you take the necessary steps to make sure you're ready to go through with the transaction. Here are some ideas on how to make your first home buying experience more enjoyable and less traumatic.

First, it's important to know just how much home you can afford. That will help you avoid the heartache of finding a home you love, only to discover that it's beyond your means. Find out what price range you need to be shopping in BEFORE you start looking!

One of the best ways to do that is to call or visit your local lenders and find out what types of loans are available and how much you can qualify for. There are many different types of loans available, and if this will be your first home, you'll have even more choices, because there are a number of programs specially designed to help people make their first home purchase. Talking with loan officers will also give you a chance to find out what other fees are involved in getting a loan. That way, you won't receive any unpleasant surprises when it comes to finalizing your mortgage transaction.

Find a real estate agent you're comfortable with, but also make sure they're knowledgeable about financing, real estate prices, and sales procedures in your area. They should also be able to demonstrate some success in negotiating sales. That's not to say there aren't good people in the field who are also brand new, but you'll want someone who can hold your hand throughout the process.

Don't sign an agreement to work with just one agent. If you agree to pay a commission to an agent, it obligates you to do that, even if you find a house yourself that's being sold by an owner. Keep your options open!

Create a checklist of the things you want most in your new home. It will help you stay focused on the things that are important to you and will serve as a reminder to look for those things in every home you visit. That way, you won't get overwhelmed by seeing many homes or get swept away by a home that's dramatic but doesn't contain the elements you're looking for.

Once you've found a home you like well enough to make an offer on, have a home inspection done by a reliable person. Especially if you're looking at a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) home, you may not want to agree to use the home inspector they suggest. Ask around and find one of your own.

Finally, don't let anyone pressure you into signing either the purchase papers or the loan documents without examining them closely. You have the right to read and to understand what you're signing, so take all the time you need. If you feel as if you need legal advice, ask to be able to show the papers to your Real Estate attorney.

Buying a home doesn't have to be an exercise in frustration and terror. If you pay attention to details, gather the necessary information, and stay focused, it can be one of the most exciting things you'll ever do.