New home buyers are constantly entering the housing market. In 2010 alone 50% of buyers were first-time home buyers. What to buy, when and how it all works are puzzling concepts for the majority of property “virgins”. Even when working with a Realtor® the concept of home ownership can be daunting and confusing. However, there are a few useful guidelines that every first-time buyer can follow when deciding what to look for in their first home.
Hopefully at this point you are fully committed to buying a home. You are aware of what you can afford and are ready to look at the options. A down payment is something you will have to consider in this process. According to Brian Buffini’s Real Estate Report, the median down payment for first-time home buyers is 4%. RE/MAX of Boulder, Inc. Realtor® Susan Plage cautions buyers to know what they can afford but even more, what they want their monthly payment to be. As Brian Buffini states, you live in the payment not in the price. Now, the biggest obstacle is figuring out what you are looking for in your first home, remember compromise is key. Perhaps, you have already begun your search online as 80% of homebuyers do. This is a great way to learn what is out there in your key areas, what you can expect to get for your money and where the most cost efficient area is for what you require in your first home.
Don’t expect your home search to move quickly, it is typical that homebuyers will see upwards of 20 to 30 houses before finding the right one. But don’t make the mistake of over searching. Once you find the right home, do not exhaust yourself with more searching. When you find the perfect home, buy it.
Lastly, as a property “virgin” do not try to go through this process alone. Find a Realtor® that you like and trust and allow them to assist you in your search. Not only are they experts in the housing market, but they also understand the process of home buying and thus are an invaluable resource.
RE/MAX of Boulder, Inc. Realtor® Irene Shaffer suggests that first-time buyers think about what they are looking for before embarking on their house hunt. This may require that you take into consideration your future plans. Some things to consider are:
• Do you have pets? Do you want pets?
• Do you have large furniture you need to accommodate?
• Do you want to bike to work?
• Do you want a garage?
• Do you want to start a family in this house?
Now that you have thought through what you want, you get to go shopping! While on your search there are a few things you can do to streamline your search efforts.
• Know what you must have and what you are willing to sacrifice or compromise on. There may be others (family, friends, HGTV) handing out advice, but only you can decide what it is that you need and what you are willing to live without or add later.
• When it comes to potentially renovating make sure you have your bases covered in terms of what you are allowed to do according to city ordinances. You don’t want to think you can renovate something you actually cannot.
• Take a camera with you on showings so that you can remember specific details about each house.
• Take notes on qualities you like and dislike about each home. Knowing what you do not like is just as valuable as knowing what you do like
• Make sure to notice the location of the house. How close are the neighbors? Is there public transit close by? Is there outdoor space? How close is the highway?
• Use all of these observations to rate the home, this will make it easier to narrow down your top picks and see what it is that you really like or dislike. Also telling your Realtor® about specific qualities you like or dislike about each house helps them decide which homes to show you next.
Once you have narrowed it down to your top two or three homes, ask your Realtor® to take you back to each one so that you can refresh your memory and hopefully decide which home is your favorite and thus the one you want to make an offer on!
Happy House Hunting!
~Submitted by Kreya Kadam