Advice for First-Time Buyers
- Pre-Qualification: Meet
with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to
pay for a home.
- Pre-Approval: While
knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will
be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been
pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going
after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval,
the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a
commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home
you're interested in is at or under the amount you are
pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a
serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are
generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay
them when you close your loan.
- List of Needs & Wants:
Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have
(i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your
family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.).
The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have
(pool, den, etc.) but that aren't absolutely necessary.
Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably won't get
everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for
what you're looking for.
- Representation by a
Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent,
one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller.
- Focus & Organization:
In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist
you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may
1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest
2. A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you,
along with ads you've cut out from the newspaper.
3. Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.
4. Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on
- Location: Look at a
potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective
buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate,
proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and
negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise)
features of the area?
- Visualize the house empty &
with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs?
Is there enough light?
- Be Objective: Instead
of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with
your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many
houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you
may regret later.
- Be Thorough: A few
extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the
long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written
2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours
4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that
weren't agreed on
(i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the
sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
- All the above may seem rather
overwhelming. That's why having a professional represent you and
keep track of all the details for you is high recommended.
Please email us or call us directly to discuss any of these
matters in further detail.