Buying your first home is exciting. Buying your first home on Big Island, Hawaii is a dream come true. The Big Island has enormous opportunities for first-time buyers, just like other places in the Hawaiian Islands. But before you leap in, here’s what your real estate agent would like you to know regarding first time home buyer tips.
Pre-Approval is a Must
In today’s competitive home buying market, buyers who have a pre-approval letter are seen as more attractive to home sellers. This is because a pre-approval means you already have a lender for financing to carry through with the home purchase. There are two “levels” of pre-approval. One is a pre-approval on a contingency basis that the information you provided in your application is correct. But an in-depth pre-approval is best, since this means you are actually guaranteed financing. In-depth pre-approvals are more powerful, but they do take longer to get. Your real estate agent can guide you with your choice.
Don’t Fall in Love With the Decor
When home shopping, strive to look beyond the cosmetic appearance of the home. This goes both ways. Don’t be fooled by an awesome home staging, because that decor will be gone on the day you move in. Also, don’t be put off by hideous decorating choices. Instead, focus on the layout, the natural light and the “bones” of the property. Carpeting and paint colors are much easier to change, but you can’t change which direction the house is facing or readily change the arrangement of the walls.
Avoid Going Over Budget
Smart first time homebuyers carefully work out a budget to ensure they will be able to comfortably afford their mortgage premium and extra costs like insurance, PMI and maintenance costs. While your real estate agent will likely show you homes below, in and over your budget for comparison’s sake, try to avoid getting emotionally invested in a home that you can’t afford.
Be Informed About Flood Insurance
Some parts of Big Island, Hawaii are prone to flooding more than others. Be sure to ask your real estate agent about flooding and whether flood insurance will be needed, as this will be an extra monthly expense. If you reside in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on the Big Island or intend to buy a home there, you’ll be eligible for federally discounted flood insurance. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) covers single-family residential structures for up to $250,000 and their contents for up to $100,000.
Your real estate agent is a valuable resource for knowledge about being a first-time home buyer on Big Island, Hawaii.