You may be asking yourself or significant other the age old question of where to start when considering buying a home. I want to take this opportunity to share with you a little bit about me and my experience in the real estate world, and offer advice on the best way to accomplish the dream of home ownership.
I have spent the last nineteen years working as a firefighter in a community inside of Cincinnati. Most of those years are filled with some very unpleasant experiences that I will not be graphic with here. I bought my first home about 18 years ago, and I sure wish I had read information about finding a consulting agent back then. About five years ago I began a second career in the real estate industry as a mortgage loan officer. I specialized in obtaining mortgages for first time home buyers, and last year made the decision to carry that experience further as a Realtor in Cincinnati and Mason Ohio.
What many people may tell you is to contact a lender to see how much home you can buy, then take it from there. This is true, but only to a point. When you contact a lender, the typical loan officer is wanting to work with you to put a loan together in the very near future. They will want to look at your credit report, and sometimes even want to collect a fee for "application", or to pay for an appraisal when there isn't even a property in question yet. The point is, most loan officers are very many times "get down to business" people. This can sometimes, especially if you have never been through the process, be very intimidating.
Although it is a necessary step to speak with a mortgage lender early in the process, I disagree that it should be the first step. Oh you may in some cases stumble upon a loan officer that works as a consultant like I did, but in my experience, that is rare. The first step is to contact a real estate agent. A real estate agent like myself will meet with you either virtually, on the phone, or in person, and talk about the process, and more importantly, listen to you. You will have the opportunity to have the process explained to you, and the agent will demonstrate their commitment to you in your quest for home ownership. Buying a home can be stressful at times, and you want to have someone that will carry most of that burden for you, as well as have someone make it fun for you. The real estate agent will listen to what your goals are in terms of time frame, location, and features that you are looking for, and even point out some considerations that you haven't considered. You should be able to bond with the agent and establish a trust that the agent has a definitive grasp on what you are looking for, and the agent as well should treat the search as if they were searching for themselves with your considerations. Your wants, needs, and desires should become the agents. The agent should be able to talk with you about your buying power. Obviously only a lender can have the final say on that, but an experienced agent has a very close idea on how to pre qualify your buying power. In some cases it takes a few months for a person considering buying a home to actually move forward with the decision to do so, and they should be able to receive consultation without having to pay for it.
So when your considering buying a home, whether it is your first time or your a seasoned vet; contact your local realtor (in Cincinnati and surrounding areas contact me). It's not about business, it's about you.