When it comes to buying your first home, whether it's on Maui or not, you have a lot of things to consider. In fact, there are often enough decisions to make the process understandably daunting to many first-time home buyers. Fortunately, a little guidance can go a long way to streamlining your experience so you can focus on the joy of finding and purchasing your first home.
The first thing to consider is what you want out of owning a home on Maui. Are you looking to get away from unrewarding rent payments so you can put your money into home equity? Are you looking forward to the pride and freedom that comes with having a home that's all yours, and that you can customize according to your preferences? Once you get a good sense of what home ownership means to you, it should help you address the following questions.
1. What kind of home on Maui will best meet your needs?
If you're buying Maui real estate, you'll need to choose what kind of property works best for you, whether a single-family home, a condo, or even a multi-family option. Each choice is going to be different, so it's worth taking the time to weigh out the pros and cons of each. You may want to decide whether you'd like a pricier home that doesn't need any changes, or a bargain that lets you tackle the challenging (and sometimes fun) process of renovation.
2. What island house features are your top priorities?
The first answers to this question usually involve a certain quality of kitchen, of bathroom(s), and other things like storage and garage space. Your top priorities are important because it's so easy to get lost in the endless, seductive possibilities that you'll find in the real estate market. You'll be less likely to lose sight of your priorities if you establish them early on. While you're thinking about this, you may want to prepare yourself for some flexibility on some of your criteria as well. Where are you willing to compromise, or not?
3. What amount will your lender pre-approve you for?
Pre-approval is a vital step, especially as a first-time home buyer. Some make the mistake of shopping based on a guess or assumption of how much they will be qualified for. Getting pre-approved will give you a realistic set of parameters you can work through as you explore the properties on the market.
4. How much down payment can you afford?
This is where you'll want to evaluate how much you have in savings and what kind of assets you may be able to pull from. In addition, you'll want to think long-term on your mortgage and be realistic. Try Bankrate's "How Much House Can I Afford?" This can help you get started evaluating your financial reach.
5. Who will assist you through the process?
Working with a good Maui real estate agent is key, and we're not just saying that because it's what we do. We're saying it because Maui realtors know the market, which is especially important here in Hawaii, where things are a little bit different than on the Mainland. Realtors also know how to navigate through negotiations and the many steps of the purchase process, including obstacles that might trip you up if you're trying to go through it on your own.
Hopefully these five questions will help you to focus in on these key points to get you started down the rewarding road of home ownership. If you need additional guidance through your Maui home buying process, we'd love to assist you. We can help with all areas of Maui, but our expertise lies in South Maui real estate. Stay tuned for Part 2 in our first-time Maui home buyer series and mahalo for reading!
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