Buying your first home is a big move and requires a great deal of research, thought, and ability to make choices. If you’re reading this article, you’ve already dedicated yourself to research. (Way to go!) What you learn here will get you on the right track as you start the homebuying process.
#1. First Time Homebuyers MUST Get Pre-Approved
Although you will be tempted, don’t start searching for homes to buy until you know what you can afford.
Here’s why: If you fall in love with your dream home, then learn it’s outside of your budget or pre-approval limit, you’ll truly regret looking first. It’s a bad way to start. Sellers will not look at your offer if you are not pre-approved by a lender anyway.
#2. Know Where To Look For Homes
Because they are easy to find when you Google, you may be tempted to use a big flashy 3rd party home search site. Resist this temptation. These big home selling sites are chock-full of inaccurate data, such as; homes that have been sold for months or incorrect ‘zestimate.’ As tempting as it may be, steer clear of 3rd party sites. They will only be a letdown. You simply can’t trust the the information.
Here’s what you should do: Get your information from your local MLS*. Your local MLS has rules in place to ensure that the information is as accurate and as up-to-date as possible. Local Realtors will likely have access to this tool. We, for example, have an easy to use search tool that is directly linked to the local Multiple Listing Service and gives a buyer the full listing of MLS homes for sale in the area.
*A multiple listing service (MLS) is a service used by a group of real estate brokers. They band together to create an MLS that allows each of them to see one another’s listings of properties for sale.
#3. Use A Local Lender
Without a doubt! Internet lenders are the Shamwow® of home lending – they arrived on scene and you think they are amazing – until your loan doesn’t close.
Only use a local lender. (We aren’t saying this to butter up our local lenders) They know how to get you approved and provide the program that’s right for you. They are motivated to do it right. These lenders likely live next door to you, your kids may go to the same school and they see you at social gatherings. They are personally vested in your happiness and are working for future referrals from you. They care about you. Internet vendors; not so much.
Need help choosing? Don’t hesitate to discuss this with your Realtor. We help buyers with this important step all the time and are happy to do it. It’s a critical part of the home buying experience, and we are pros at recommending lenders that are the right fit for you and your situation.
#4. Pick The Agent That’s Right For You
Pick an agent that you feel comfortable with. Trust the feeling you get in your gut when you meet. Then ask all the questions that are on your mind. Don’t be shy. You want to know things like:
- Their track record.
- How they communicate.
- Response rate.
- Do they have a modern website?
- Are they on social media?
- Do they have for support staff?
You know what’s always a great idea? Ask them for testimonials. If your gut isn’t as intuitive as you’d like it to be, testimonials will get you there.
If you’d like to know more about interviewing an agent read “How to Find The Most Qualified Real Estate Agent.”
Summing it Up:
There’s a great deal to buying your first home and congrats! on starting the first phase (research.) We have worked with multiple first time homebuyers and feel these are the four steps that will get you on the right track. Are you excited? You are now one step closer to moving into your new home. If you’d like to talk to a real person to get specific questions or questions directly related to this market answered, then reach out to us, we’d love to help.