5 Tips for Today's Homebuyers

Real Estate Agent with 1st Action Real Estate

If you're thinking about buying a home in the near future or are trying to buy a home right now, here are a few tips to help you navigate the process. 

First off, you should know that it's a great time to buy a home but the process will probably be more than a little frustrating. Why? Because banks will make you jump through hoops and do other circus tricks before they will lend you any money. A few short years ago they were wantonly handing out buckets of cash to people who had no earthly means to repay them. Having been righteously burned, they are now in knee-jerk mode and going overboard to make sure you are worthy.

Second, our market is sizzling hot right now with way more of you looking to buy a house than there are houses looking for buyers. Our inventory of homes for sale is less than half what it was a year ago and shows no sign of easing anytime soon. This brings into play the inevitable law of supply and demand which has pushed our prices up by nearly 25% over where they were last year.

Which brings us to tip #:

1.    DO NOT insist that your Realtor submit bids on your behalf for anything less than the full asking price. If you're buying a $1 million home, maybe you can sneak a few grand out but for anything affordable you will simply be wasting your time and killing trees for nothing. You will soon find that most homes are going for over asking price and many of those are selling for cash. You'll experience enough frustration even doing it right - don't compound your problems by doing it wrong right off the bat.

2.   Try to keep your emotions in check. Easier said than done when making a decision that is probably the largest investment decision most of you will ever make. But from a sellers perspective your emotions don't matter. It's simply an economic decision and a highly competitive one at that. Some buyers are submitting entire portfolios on why their offer should be accepted - family history, adorable baby pictures, fuzzy dog - but a seller will take $10,000 cash over your cute baby every day of the week. 


Your first home may not be your 'perfect' home. Get over it. Would you rather have a home of your own, a tax write-off and a (hopefully) appreciating asset or keep living in that rental making somebody else's house payments? Exactly. So broaden your search a little. Maybe you can put in a pool later, maybe you don't need 5 bedrooms plus an entertainment suite, maybe Menifee's not too far - loosen up a little and increase your odds of success.

 4.   If you see a home you like - WRITE A GOOD OFFER NOW! If you've got to think about it or pray on it for a few days, it'll be gone. Sorry. Even the good Lord won't hold it for you in this market. I can't tell you how many buyers have told me 'if the Lord intends for it to happen, it will'. Apparently the Lord intends for them to live in an apartment indefinitely cause that's where they still are. If you're going to rely on the power of prayer, pray that a seller accepts your offer instead of those heathen investors with cash falling out of their pockets.

5.    DON'T GIVE UP. Remember the 4 P's - be prepared, be patient, be persistent and be perspicacious.


 There's a reason they call homeownership 'The American Dream'. You may have missed the bottom of the market but we're still pretty far from the top so hang in there and soon you could be dreaming in a home all your own. 


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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

All great tips and they apply to Maryland and Virginia as well as California.

One thing for sure.  A buyer who has a hard time making a decision (about anything) might just as well stay where they are.

Jun 25, 2013 11:15 PM #1
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

Excellent post Gene! It's so important for a buyer to be flexible when looking for a home.

Unless you're at the late stage in your life, you're most likely not going to be purchasing your forever home!

Jun 25, 2013 11:46 PM #2
Gay E. Rosen
Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty - Larchmont, NY
As Real as Real Estate Gets!

Excellent ost Gene.. finding out when the seller wants to move out is important too..

Jun 26, 2013 12:05 AM #3
Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

#3 I discuss with my client before looking at homes when it is their first home. The goal is to get a home and move up in home two to three years from this point as they build equity. Great point here

Jun 26, 2013 12:39 AM #4
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I love these tips as applied to the "American Dream."  For many first time home buyers has become a stretch with MIP and the slight changes in the mortgage interest rates.

Jun 26, 2013 01:05 AM #6
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

It's a frustrating market for many right now - buyers and agents,  and as I travel around the country I know it's not just localized to California. Of course CA is an anomaly most of the time and after treading water for nearly 5 years, our prices statewide shot up 32% May over May. We're building another bubble but if you get in on the ground floor you make a killing. It's all in the timing. 

Jun 26, 2013 01:32 AM #7
Jay & Michelle Lieberman
Keller Williams World Class - Agoura Hills, CA
Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos

Tip number 1 is the best advice and the one I push for with my clients.  Offer what they want if you can afford it.  Anything less will put you at the bottom.

Jun 26, 2013 01:58 AM #8
Marilyn Wier
RE/MAX Space Center - League City, TX
Your League City & Surrounding Areas REALTOR!

Wish this were something all buyers have to read and sign before they begin their home search! There would be a lot less heart ache and surprises at the end.

Jun 26, 2013 02:38 AM #9
Randy Bocook
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Richmond Hill, GA
Selling Coastal Georgia

Wonderful tips. Great job. I hope you have a great 2013

Jun 26, 2013 05:59 AM #10
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

The American Dream is an important thing to accomplish and it does not allow the faint of heart to participate. You have to really want it, do the work and then pray.  But do the WORK,

Jun 26, 2013 06:44 AM #11
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Gene Wunderlich

Realtor & Legislative Liaison
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