Buying a Havasu home comes with many emotions: joy, excitement...nervousness. After all, this may be the biggest financial investment you ever make in your life. Don't feel overwhelmed. Take each step one at a time. For first-time Havasu homebuyers, one question always comes up. What should you do first?
What is a First-Time Havasu Homebuyer?
First of all, you may be wondering what exactly a first-time homebuyer is. Some first-time Havasu homebuyers have never owned a home before. However, others have. How can that be? As long as you haven't owned a home in the last three years, you are considered a first-time homebuyer. And being a first-time Havasu homebuyer may entitle you to special programs to help you purchase your new home. Talk to your Lake Havasu REALTOR@ or mortgage company to find out what these programs are and if any apply to you.
Money, Money, Money
The very first step I always encourage first-time Havasu homebuyers to make is to get their finances in order. Pay down as much debt as possible before applying for a loan. Your debt-to-income ratio factors heavily into your creditworthiness. Also, visit AnnualCreditReport.com to obtain your credit report from all three reporting agencies. Once you receive your reports, look them over carefully. If you notice any mistakes, contact the company reporting it right away to let them know. The less negative things on your report, the higher your credit score. The higher your credit score, the better your interest rate for a home loan.
After your credit report is free of errors and you've paid down as much debt as possible, contact your bank or lending institution. It's smart to start the pre-approval process right away. This helps you determine where to set your house-hunting budget. Also, many real estate agents want to see an approval letter from your bank before they submit an offer. You look much more serious to the seller that way.
Location, Location, Location
Paint and carpet can easily be changed. Furniture, too. Even the interior footprint of a Havasu home can be changed around for a cost. However, one thing that won't change is the location.
The cutest house in the worst neighborhood will quickly bring on buyer's remorse after move-in day. Look around when touring a home. Check out how the neighbors keep up their properties. Are the neighbors loud? How long will your new commute time be? What are the schools like? Before you make an offer, visit the neighborhood a few times: during the week, on the weekends, and at various times of the day. Make sure you are happy with what you see and hear before you sign on the dotted line.
Check the Tech
Many Havasu homes now come with tech-savvy amenities, such as a security system and smart thermostat. When walking through, take a moment to make sure these all work properly. Ask your inspector to take a look at them as well. If something isn't working properly, you can write it into your sales contract that the items must be fixed by the seller. Or, ask that the cost to replace them be taken off the sale price. Discuss your options with your REALTOR@ to determine which direction you want to take.
It's normal to feel a little scared as well as excited when you are a first-time Havasu homebuyer. Just take each step one at a time. You'll find yourself walking into your new home in no time!