10 home buyer tips from the nation’s top real estate experts
Too often, first-time homebuyers will be succumbed by emotion and become attached to a less than desirable property.
By Ally Abernathy for The Lenders Network

Be Prepared to Act Quickly

Today’s market is a seller’s market. Inventory is low and we are seeing bidding wars, where the seller ends up selling for a higher price than the initial listing price. Agents and homebuyers should be available as quickly as possible, so they can act quickly. Buyers should be prepared to lose a few before they purchase the home they truly want. Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor, President, ERA Key Realty Services.

Be Systematic in Your Approach

Too often, first-time homebuyers will be succumbed by emotion and become attached to a less than desirable property. Spending the time to research the local market trends and getting their finances are suitable for a home purchase will result in a significantly more agreeable situation. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, purchasing a property should never be a rushed process. First time homebuyers are typically in the initial stages of their careers, so diligently researching and utilizing the advice from real estate professionals can either set the foundation for prosperity, or create a detrimental fiscal situation for years to follow. Rhett M. Struve, Twin Cities Sold.

Buyer’s Representation is Free

Make sure you have someone looking out for your interests. After almost two decades in the business I am still surprised to hear from first-time home buyers that they don’t reach out to an agent when starting their search because they don’t have the extra money. The seller has negotiated the commission they pay long before you see the house advertised and if the buyer doesn’t have an agent the listing agent keeps the full amount. This leaves you with a very happy listing agent, but also with a buyer that has nobody protecting their interest. Deborah Dennis, Realtor.

Communicate Clearly with Your Agent

Tell your Realtor exactly what you are looking for so they can best help you find your dream home. The more specific you can be, the more your Realtor can be helpful. Remember, when they’re working for you in the market talking to other Realtors, they need to filter their search and refine their requests to narrow what is available. Simply telling your Realtor, “I want a three bedroom house with a yard” isn’t going to get you anywhere. Jonathan Alpart, Realtor, Fathom Realty.

Get Pre-Approved Before You Start House Hunting

Before engaging in any serious home search, first-time buyers need to have the necessary liquidity for the down payment, have investigated and addressed any potential credit issues, and spoken to a mortgage company (preferably several) and obtained a pre-approval letter. This process will also help determine the maximum price they can afford, which obviously will help them to focus their search accordingly, and to be prepared to make an offer when they find their dream home. Marc Carver, Principal, Carver Property Group.

Do Your Homework

Despite the busyness of life, do a little research on your own. If you have a question about whether a room is permitted or not, find out before you sign on the dotted line. Be proactive. Ask questions, check the internet and if meet some of your potential new neighbors. If you are viewing the property during the day, you may want to drive by in the evening. Never, ever, forego having the home inspected, inspections reveal with your natural eyes cannot see. Chantay Bridges, Realtor.

Speak to a mortgage advisor or take a First Time Homebuyer class to educate yourself.
Sit Down with your Agent and Let Them Walk you Through the Process

As a first-time home buyer, you’ll have a lot of questions, and our jobs are to help you navigate through this and prepare you, as best as possible, for what exactly you’ll be experiencing — we will set realistic time frame goals and expectations on what your money can buy. If your agent is “too busy” or doesn’t have the desire to educate you on what buying a home looks like, you may want to consider interviewing someone else who truly cares about you having the best experience possible. Katie Messenger, Realtor.

You Don’t Need 20% Saved for a Down Payment

There are many first-time home buyer programs out there, and with government loan programs a first time buyer can often get into their new home with 5% or less down. Speak to a mortgage advisor or take a First Time Homebuyer class to educate yourself, you may be able to get on the property market and start gaining equity sooner than you think. Deborah Dennis, Realtor.

Have Cash in Reserves

Millennial Realtor, most of the First Time Home Buyers I work with are around my age (mid to late 20’s to early 30’s). One solid tip I give them well before we start looking at homes (months ahead) is to save as much as possible and have cash in reserves that extend well past closing costs. That way, a buyer’s wallet isn’t stretched so thin and they can still feel financially comfortable even once making one of the biggest investments of their lives. Anthony West, Realtor

Get a Second Opinion

Even after you think you’ve found the home of your dreams, get someone else’s opinion. Bring a friend or family member you trust along, they may notice something you didn’t. And if they love it too you can rest easy knowing that you’re making the right decision. Sarah Richardson, Real Estate Broker.
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