Top 5 Mistakes of First Time Home Buyers
Buying your first home can be very exciting and rewarding. However, poor planning and preparation can make it a much more stressful experience than it has to be. The assistance of a professional Realtor® can help make the process of buying your home much easier. I work with many first time home buyers in Gwinnett, Jackson, Barrow & Walton counties in Georgia. I have found that many first time buyers make some common mistakes. Here are the top five mistakes to avoid when buying your first home:
•1. Not Getting Prequalified - I cannot stress how important this first step is. An experienced agent will usually have you prequalify with a lender as the very first step of your home search. Even if you have not chosen an agent to work with yet, you can still get prequalified. Getting prequalified simply starts with a phone call to a lender you can trust. Your agent can recommend a lender, or perhaps your friends or family. Using a lender that has been recommended to you by someone who has actually used their services is always a good idea. Getting prequalified allows you to know how much house you can afford, what your monthly payments will be, current interest rates and what type of loans you can qualify for. This is all VERY important to know BEFORE you begin your home search. Additionally, in our market, you must submit a prequalification letter with your offer. Most Sellers will not even respond to your offer if you do not provide a prequalification letter.
•2. Not Using a Realtor® - In our market, agents can represent either a seller or a buyer. The listing agent represents the seller. The buyer's agent represents the buyer. HOWEVER, the buyer does not pay his/her agent. Instead, it is customary for the Seller to pay the full commission, which is split between both agents. By using an agent to assist with your home search, you can save significant time in your search. Your agent can set up a custom search in the MLS system/s for you that will email you every day with any new listings that meet your criteria.... No more countless hours filtering through properties on the internet! Additionally, an agent can recommend professionals such as lenders, home & pest inspectors, closing attorneys, etc. An experienced agent will be able to handle all negotiations and contracts and basically walk you through the home buying process, step by step. Considering you don't have to pay your buyer's agent, getting an agent to help you buy your first home is really a NO BRAINER!
•3. Not Asking Enough Questions - NO question is dumb! Your agent and your lender should be happy to answer any questions that you have. As professionals that go through the home buying process every day, we can sometimes take our knowledge for granted and forget that you have never done this before. If you have questions through the process, don't be afraid to ask!
•4. Not Thinking About Resale - The average first time home buyer stays in their first home for approximately 5 years. While it is important that you like your first home, you want to also make sure that you buy a home that has features other buyers will like as well. Some factors to consider are neighborhood, school districts, floor plan, age and convenience to shopping. Your agent can provide insight as to whether a home should have good resale potential in your local market.
•5. Not Acting Quickly Enough - Sometimes you have to look at numerous homes before you find one that is right for you. Sometimes, it only takes a few. I have seen too many buyers be too timid to make an offer once they find a home they love and end up losing it because someone else put it under contract first! I am not suggesting that you should jump on the first home you see. But, if you find a home that fits all of your criteria, is the right price and "feels" like home the moment you walk in, you better act on it. In our market, many foreclosures and short sales are priced at bargain prices. Although our market is a Buyer's market, the REALLY good deals will often go under contract within 24-48 hours of being put on the market. So, be ready to act when you find the right home for you!
If you take the necessary steps to avoid these mistakes, your first home buying experience should be a good one!
For more information or for assistance with your real estate needs in the Northeast Metro Atlanta & Athens area, visit my web site at www.pshrealestate.com
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