I decided to spend a moment and focus on buyers for a moment. I have a lot of information for my sellers, but when it comes to working with buyers I would have to say first-time home buyers are my favorite. It isn't for everyone and many agents like it when they have experienced buyers, normally the deals will go along smoother and the process of finding their new home is easier. Perhaps I like the "challenge" but it is a different kind of reward when you hand someone the keys to their very FIRST new home !
Get your finances in order
Before you start working with a buyer broker, getting a mortgage pre-approval is a must. I have seen too many homebuyers starting looking before they find out what they can afford. The result is disappointment that you may have looked at some wonderful homes that turns out does not fit into your budget. Most licensed brokers will have reliable, and attentive mortgage brokers they work with that they will be able to refer you to.
Know the language
Know the terminology of real estate, you want to understand what brokers are talking about. Short sales vs Foreclosure, there is a very big difference. You want to be sure even when you are looking without an agent you have a good understanding of what everything is. You need to understand the difference between Listing Agents, Buyers Brokers, and disclosure. Listing agents obviously list the house, and work for the sellers. Every first time home buyer should work with a Buyer Broker, they will provide you with information about the homes in the neighborhood your looking for, make sure everything the seller is representing is true !
Find a well-trusted real estate agent
This is the most important part for a first time home-buyer, you are going to be depending on this person to help you make a life changing purchase. You need someone who is okay with having to “hold your hand” so to speak during the process, not because you need it but it is a resource that is available to you. I once stayed in a closing with my first time buyers for 5 hours, it was a short sale and the bank was having its own issue with paperwork which held us up. Before leaving the attorney, pulled me aside to thank me for staying and explaining what was going on to his clients.
Decide what you “must have” and what you would “like to have”
I had a home buyer once tell me that she would never purchase a ranch they would never give her the space she needed. For the most part she was right, almost every single home that was a ranch would not meet what she needed to have. Before we began looking I asked her to make me a list of her “must have”, and “like to have list”. Must haves are the number of bedrooms, a school district, or a price range. These are things that if they did not have them it would be impossible to move to that home. Fireplaces, pools, central air, these are all things that you would like to have but, you could live without. These lists are different for everyone, in this clients case the home she purchased ended up being a ranch. If we had limited the search she would have missed out on her “perfect home”.
Should I Spend The Money To Have A Home Inspection?
Absolutely. The $200 to $500 that a professional home inspection costs could be the best money you ever spend on your house. Not only does the home inspection seek out any defects (and gives you some peace of mind), the home inspector will often give you tips on maintaining and repairing your house. See the section on Home Inspections for tips on what to look for and how to choose a home inspector.