What 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
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.
- 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.
- They should be your advocate and advisor, not a decision maker.
- 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
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
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
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.