Top Five Tips for the Savvy First Time Home Buyer

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In this crazy competitive market the savvy first time home buyer gets the worm (or maybe we should say “the Craftsman.”) All buyers want their first home purchase to be a solid investment as much as they want it be a fabulous place for them to live. Team Diva understands that smart buyers make smart investments, whether it is their first starter home or their third fixer mid-century home.

5 Tips Smart Home BuyerWhat does it take to be a smart first time home buyer in any market? These are our Top Five First Time Home Buyer Tips.

Tip #1: Find the Right Realtor for You

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent For You in Seattle

Picking a Realtor should always be the first step.

Yes, I know. You think I’m saying that because I am a Realtor and—of course I will promote my own profession! Well, we exist for a reason. Anyone who has tried to navigate the home buying and home selling process on their own can tell you why. (Or if they can’t, then they don’t what they’re missing.)

Finding a realtor you know, like and trust sets you up for success from the starting gate. Some folks go to Yelp!, some ask their best friends, some find their agents at open houses. There is no hard and fast rule for finding the right agent, but here are some key points to consider when interviewing an agent.

  1. They should be willing and able to provide you with all information you need to be a well-educated buyer, or point you in the direction where you can find the info if they are not the best source.
  2. They should be your advocate and advisor, not a decision maker.
  3. Lastly, they should be able to provide you with referrals or testimonials from other clients, independent of their Zillow or Yelp! profiles.

Tip #2: Love your Loan Officer

Competing Against Cash Offers By Waiving Financing

The person you choose to help you acquire financing for your home is probably the MOST important person in the house buying process. Yes, even more important than your realtor.

This is a major financial purchase. Don’t skimp out just to save $1000 on closing costs by going with some online “lending institution” that promises big and delivers ZERO.

Best advice: Get a referral from your REALTOR! We work with our top mortgage brokers not just on ONE deal, but on dozens of deals every year. We know their track record of success, and their strengths and weaknesses (no one is perfect). And they know what we expect from them in every situation, whether it is multiple offers or a foreclosure.

Tip #3: Be Price Savvy, Not Shortsighted

How to Win in Seattle’s Hot Market – Spring 2017 Update

Our best advice in any negotiation situation is to have savvy first-time home buyers ask themselves this one simple question: At what price would you be kicking yourself if you lost this house? After a few multiple offer situations, it is easy to feel pushed around and abused by the market. Don’t let the market conditions beat you up.

“When you find the house you love – GO FOR IT!

Do the best you can to get that house. The $10K you spend over your budget may only equal $50 extra a month in mortgage. Yes, for some people that is a lot, but for many of us, giving up one dinner out to save free up that $50 a month is worth it. If you get the house you love over the house you just like, maybe you’ll want to stay in more anyways!

Tip #4: Choose Your Battles

Size, Condition, or Location? Smart Buyers Choose Two!

Once you decide that your budget is your guide, not your cliff, then it becomes even more important to choose the house you love. (Don’t settle for the “just ok”, “could work”, “better than we’ve seen before” house.) Never let market fears or desperation control your decisions. Fight for the right house, be “in it to win it” or don’t get into the battle.

Losing offer after offer because you were fighting for the wrong houses means you get worn down and do not have the energy to fight for “your right house” when it comes around. The savvy first time home buyer chooses their battles!

Tip #5: It Is Not Just About What Your Realtor Knows, BUT Who They Know. 

Being a savvy first time home buyer doesn’t stop once you buy the house. Remember all those folks who helped make that purchase a smooth, easy and well-informed transaction? We are still here.

Time to address that plumbing issue that came up during the pre-inspection, but you can’t read the chicken scratch notes? Call your inspector. They will more than likely remember the issues, or they will offer to come back to the house and check it out for you.

Thinking of remodeling and want to know if it is worth the time/money? Call your Team Diva Member. That’s why you hired them. They can run a market analysis to see if the updates are worth it, connect you with a contractor, or maybe even given you advice on other remodel options. Whatever it is, don’t forget your team that helped you win the house.

21 thoughts on “Top Five Tips for the Savvy First Time Home Buyer


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    Thanks for such valuable information about choosing a house for sale for the first time. I like what you said about finding the right realtor for your situation. I imagine that a quality realtor could make the whole process go smoothly. My wife and I are thinking of buying a home and will be sure to follow this advice so we can get a quality property.



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    Sometimes I have fun and look at a house I would be interested in. I have heard from other how they got along with their realtor and they help find them the best house possible. I would imagine that the realtor could give out a lot of great advice on what to look for so the best choose can be made.


  3. Chavi Hohm
    Chavi Hohm

    At Team Diva we see the home buying process as a team effort. It takes both the Diva Dweller to be prepped and ready and a Diva Team member to be a guide through the process.


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    Thanks for sharing tips! It is really helpful to get information on how to invest well because I don’t want to make a bad decision on buying a property. The tip about finding the right realtor seems like a good idea.


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    I really like what you said about not only finding a good real estate agent, but finding the right one for you. My husband and I are ready to settle down, and we are starting the process of buying our first home. We’ll be sure to look at a few different real estate agents, and make sure that we find the right one for us.


  6. Chavi Hohm
    Chavi Hohm

    Hi Jackie – I’m so happy you liked the content here. Also please feel free to download our buyer packet in the buyer section. And of course if you want to talk to one of the Divas or Diva Dude call 206-271-0264!


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    I think using your realtor as a reference point for a financial adviser sounds like a great idea. If your realtor is recommending them, that means that they have probably worked together or know each other well. Thanks for sharing!


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    My wife and I are moving out of state and are starting to search for a house. Your statement about how realtors should be your advocate and advisor was brilliant. Those are definitely the stances we should be looking for when searching for a real estate agent. It seems that communication with the realtor would help a lot in that area. I wonder if I can find a local agent that feels that same way.


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    I really like your first point on picking the right realtor for you, and not just the best one in the area. Real estate agents specialize in different things, so someone who is good for your friend may not be good for you. Plus, like you said, there’s no one way to find an agent; you just have to find the person who fits you best.


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    Your comment about your budget being the guide really rings true. It’s a fact of life that you just can’t throw around money. When it comes to big purchases like this, you gotta know your limits.


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    I like your tip about choosing a realtor first, this would definitely help me to get the ball rolling. My husband and I have been wanting to buy a house for a while, but something always comes up. We need a professional who will be able to actually make it happen. Do you have any further tips about finding a great realtor? Thank you for all of the applicable information!


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    I think the fifth piece of advice is good to remember when searching for an agent. Having a good network really can be a great advantage. It would be helpful since it can be difficult to find a home that suits your needs.


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    I really like what you said about choosing your battles, and fight for what you really want. My husband and I are looking for our first home, and I want to be sure that we choose the right home to fight for. If we find a home that we absolutely love, we will be sure to fight for it, so that we get what we want.



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    I love all the reasons for getting a real estate agent. I think that that one that strikes me especially is how to prepare a home for the market. Just that idea of staging a home is foreign to me and something I will need help with. I will totally use a real estate agent when we sell our home.


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    I agree that you would want to find a realtor who will provide you with referrals and testimonials of past clients. I would imagine that finding someone who is well liked by past clients would be really beneficial to you. I’m looking to buy a new home so I’ll have to find a real estate agent that will provide me with past referrals first.


  16. Michael Jouver
    Michael Jouver

    Olivia give us a call if you’d like to set up a meeting and are looking in the Seattle area! 206-271-0264


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    Great post and it should prove to be quite relevant next year. According Realtor.com’s Home Shopper Survey, 52% of the future buying pool has identified themselves as first-time buyers. If interest rates stay low next year, I’d say it should be a positive year for first time buyers.


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    I appreciate the tips on how to find a realtor and buy a home for the first time. I agree that finding a home for the first time can be fun but it can also be a stressful experience, being focused of a price you can afford is super important and will help you in the long run. My sister is looking for a home, I will be sure to share these tips with her.


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    I hadn’t thought about the importance of finding a realtor that is willing and able to provide me with all the info I need to be a well-educated buyer. I’ve heard, too, that some realtors will make themselves available 24 hours of the day to be able to answer your every question. I’m looking for a house right now, and I’ll have to keep these great house-buying tips in mind.

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