The I've been in my home for too long blue's
Whether or not you rent now, the choice to get your first home is a huge decision. Just a few short years ago I never thought own a house of my own. I always thought I would pay quite a bit more than I was paying for rent, not to mention having a giant down payment I didn't think I could. In reality, for only about a hundred bucks a month more I was able to get a home that was almost twice the size of my old apartment, plus I no longer had to deal with people below me playing music with their sub-woofers banging until 12am.
The wonderful news is that extra one hundred dollars each month I am putting thousands of dollars in equity in my house. Unfortunately in an apartment you have nothing to show for all the money you spend year after year in rent. In a few years when I decide to sell my house, I will have thousands of dollars in equity earned.
When I first decided that I should get a house, I had to find out what I could afford. I also knew I should find out how good my credit score was, because this would play a part in the best rate I could get. I was afraid of discovering my credit score because a few years ago I did not have the best credit history. I knew I needed more information, so I sought the advice of my family & friends that own houses, and resources on the internet.
Friends & family have a lot of great information and advice to give you. You do have to be careful who you ask, and how much information you let them give you or you possibly might have friends calling you up with all manor of crazy or improbable ideas. It is critical to stay focused on the budget you set. Do not let anyone push you into a budget you are not comfortable with. This group will be a valuable resource for helping to find a great Realtor for you. If no one from your network can suggest a good Realtor for you, you may want to call your insurance company, or a bank for real estate agents they have worked with in the past. If everything else fails, there is always the internet, and you need to review real estate agents with services like Angieslist before hiring them.
It is very important that prior to signing any contracts with your Realtor that you are happy with them, and trust the advice provide. If this is not how it is and you sign contracts with them, you could be locking yourself into a legal contract with them that you will only use their services for the next 6 months or even one year. You always need to know what you are signing and get a copy so that you have literature to look back to when you have questions.