12 Tips for First Time Homebuyers
You’re reading this blog because you’ve decided to buy your first home. You’ve thought long and hard about it for some time. You’ve weighed the pros and cons, and decided taking the plunge is the right thing to do. You’ve saved for a down payment, prices are the lowest in years and you believe the timing couldn’t be better.
Now it’s time to focus on what you need and what you want. Here are some tips to consider and questions to answer:
- Decide how much room you need, or will need. Two bedrooms? Three? Four? And how many bathrooms? Space for an office? Pool? Garage? One car or two? Water access? Will your family be expanding?
- What kind of neighborhood or community suits you best? If you’re currently living in the neighborhood or community in which you want to buy, you already know it’s particular character, amenities, price range, style, pluses and minuses, etc. But if you’re somewhat new to the area, we suggest starting with an Internet search of online listings and locales to get a feel for where you might want to live.
- Choose a reputable real estate agent. He or she should be a good listener, and should fully understand what you’re looking for, the neighborhood in which you want to live and the price range you need to stay within. Your Realtor should also have experience and a solid reputation behind him or her. Remember, your Realtor is working for you. Get recommendations. Interview a few and choose wisely.
- Establish a relationship with a lender. Know your borrowing ability, and be in a position to begin the loan application process as soon as you sign a purchase agreement.
- With your motivation and parameters in hand, and with the help of a good agent, you will probably find your home within a couple of weeks, perhaps much less. Be prepared to make a decision and act.
- Make detailed notes, and take digital photos of the homes you visit, so later you can remember features and recall what you liked and didn’t like about specific properties.
- Create a list of your top choices, identify their pros and cons and rate them. Choose the top two or three prospects and visit them a second time. Now that you’re an experienced “looker” you’ll see them differently, and will be able to “see” them more objectively. You’ll also see things you didn’t notice the first time around.
- Decide on your top choice. Have your Realtor contact the listing agent (unless your realtor is the listing agent) to check on outstanding offers and how interested the seller is in selling. Our current market favors buyers so this is your first chance to see how motivated the seller is.
- Negotiate in earnest. Your realtor will negotiate with the seller or the seller’s agent on your behalf, but remember that you drive the process. Keep in mind your pre-determined price cap and stick with it. If you can’t buy your first choice at the price you’re willing to pay, move on.
- Once your offer has been accepted, immediately begin the process of getting the deal closed. Meet with your lender to get the wheels turning. Be sure to keep in close touch with your realtor. His or her job is only half done when your offer sheet is accepted. There’s still much to accomplish like; inspections, appraisal, survey, title work and insurance.
- Make sure you keep it a “business” deal until you’ve signed the closing documents, written your checks and gotten the keys to your new home.
- Celebrate! You’ve just bought your first home and you should feel great! Many buyers experience what’s known as “buyers remorse.” Don’t fall into that trap. You did your research, you didn’t rush into anything, you worked with a professional Realtor, you found the home you want and you bought it. Great job! Now enjoy it.
Hounchell Real Estate-RE/MAX Metro is the leader in general real estate, pre-foreclosure, short sale and foreclosure markets in the Pinellas County area. Contact us today at 727-642-9107.