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Tips From Top Agents For First-Time Home Buyers

1. Set Your Expectations

Set the correct expectations. Take out a blank piece of paper and write out your wish list. There is no such thing as the perfect home, but there is a home that is perfect for you. Make sure you know what you want before starting the buying process. Be prepared! Have a list of your “wants” created, and all your financial documents lined up with the lender so you know how much buying power you really have. Be patient and realistic when looking for your first home. It is important to find a home within your financial position at the time of purchase. Remember, your first home most likely won’t be your last.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Have a budget. It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many first-time home buyers don’t know how much money they have to spend on their new house. Figure out your personal budget to determine how much you can truly afford, then get pre-qualified and compare the amounts. Use the lowest of the two. Purchase a home that you can afford. Keep your mortgage within your budget and find a neighborhood that has amenities that will fit your needs. Protect yourself: Get pre-qualified for a mortgage so you don’t spend more than you can afford for a home.

3. Consider if It Is Better to Rent or Own

Don’t forget that rent is a variable,; it will likely be much higher five years from now.  The real estate market has made it cheaper to own than rent. Know the trade offs of renting verses owning. When considering your price point, start with the amount of rent you are paying now, not necessarily what the bank/mortgage company says they will loan you.

4. Educate Yourself on Local Market Conditions

Interest rates are still low. Buyers have to be aware of market conditions. You will probably move in the next seven years, so make sure to think about resale value in the near future. The market hit its bottom last year. So far, this year’s prices are up by about 10 percent since last year’s and home values are continuing to increase. The market is shifting, so you have to be aggressive with your home search because properties are selling quicker with multiple offers.

5. Learn about the Buying Process

Do not get too emotional about the house until escrow is closed. Things can go wrong during the offer submitted through close of escrow. Do your homework! Don’t get hung up on price. The question should be: Does this purchase improve your living?

6. How to Choose the Right Home

Choose the property according to your needs. The most important thing when buying a home is location, location, location! Love what you buy. When you feel the feeling of finding your dream, act quickly. Take the time to search for a home that suits you and meets your personal/financial needs. Buy the “most house” that you can comfortably buy, and, even perhaps, push yourself to the limit of your pre-approved amount. Thus, you will be satisfied with your purchase for a longer period of time.

7. Find Out How Much Financing You’re Eligible For

Do not look for a home for the amount you are qualified to buy with your mortgage agent. Ask him to tell you how much you can buy based on the mortgage amount you are comfortable paying every month. Have a good conversation with a loan officer or mortgage broker to check all the options regarding financing. It’s essential to get pre-approved for a loan. Know your finances and speak to a lender first. There are a lot of opportunities out there for financing, no matter your credit score.

8. How To Choose a Real Estate Agent

Ask to see past references. Choose an agent based on their knowledge, experience, and work ethic. Then allow them to guide you. Set a face-to-face meeting with your Realtor to discuss the home buying process. Ask your friends and co-workers for recommendations for great local lenders and Realtors.

9. What Real Estate Agents Do

Hire a real estate agent who understands your concerns and educates you. Ask this agent questions throughout the process so that you better understand the entire process. Make sure you find an agent that educates you thoroughly about the buying process and the market, and that they then empower you to make educated decisions. Get a Realtor that explains the process and walks you through every facet of the buying process. This is critical to avoid costly mistakes. Make sure you like your Realtor and mortgage broker. We are here to help you find what they are looking for and hold your hand in the entire process.

10.  Qualities of a Great Real Estate Agent

Work with a Realtor and be sure that Realtor represents your interests, not the Seller. Make certain that you have a buyer’s agent to represent your best interests. Make sure that whoever you are working with is someone you can trust and that will put your interests in front of their own. If they care enough, they will ask you lots of questions!

Be absolutely certain that you align with the right real estate broker and loan officer. A good real estate team will help a buyer purchase a home that fits well within their budget. All Realtors are not created equally and should hire a professional, competent and knowledgeable Realtor that can explain the process. Work with an agent close to or within your market area, as their experience on local market trends is invaluable. Also ensure that their agent is a full-time agent.

11. Benefits of a Real Estate Agent

A good Realtor can help you navigate the process while providing you expert guidance and advice. Markets vary from one another and a good agent can give you local information based on experience. Work with an experienced Realtor in the immediate area. Out of area Realtors do not know the immediate market therefore cannot always provide detailed information about neighborhoods and market conditions. Find a Realtor that truly understands property values where you are shopping. They can assist you in establishing your offer price.