8 Essential Strategies for First Time Buyers

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

8 Home Buying Tips for First Time Buyers

 

Buying a home is a huge process and a substantial financial one. As a first time buyer there are some important things you should do in order to have a good experience and be successful in your quest to become a homeowner.

 

So, assuming you have made the decision to buy your first home, and are serious about it, let’s talk about what you need to do.

 

 

GET ALL YOUR PAPERWORK IN ORDER

You will be surprised at how much paperwork lenders require these days, so any upfront work you can do to get it all in one place, whether hard copies or online, will save you some time. At a minimum this includes all recent bank statements, recent paystubs, information about all loans, and 2 years of taxes for starters.

 

 

GET PRE-APPROVED WITH A GOOD LENDER

Most buyers need financing to purchase a house and you need to know right up front how much you can afford BEFORE you start the home search. And not just the loan itself but interest, taxes and other costs that are part of your monthly housing expense.  Be sure to ask lots of questions and if the lender does not take time to educate you and answer all your questions consider moving on. You need someone by your side throughout the purchase process.

 

You should also know your personal budget. You may qualify to borrow more than you want to spend when you look at the monthly payment versus how you budget for other things. Maxing out your house budget will make you miserable and is certainly not a prudent thing to do.

 

 

Buyer HandbookWORK WITH A QUALIFIED REALTOR®

You no doubt have found a wealth of information on the Internet about real estate, but it is NOT the be-all-end-all of information. Indeed, there are plenty of gaps, discrepancies, and contradictions, and understanding what it all means for you and your purchase is a major challenge.

 

Since you have never bought a home before you need a trusted, knowledgeable REALTOR®  to answer all your questions, educate you, guide you through the process, and help find solutions to problems that might arise. This person can do a far better job of protecting your interests, negotiating on your behalf, and helping you make the best decision than your friend, neighbor, or the listing agent.

 

 

ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There’s a lot you don’t know, and there may be things that are confusing, terminology you don’t understand, and more. While a good REALTOR® will take the time to explain things, don’t be shy about your questions, even if you think they’re silly or you feel stupid. The more you know, the better!

 

 

Carlsbad homeDECIDE WHAT YOU NEED IN YOUR FIRST HOME

You probably have some ideas about what you need in your first home. This is critical so you can search for homes that meet your needs effectively.

 

Did you notice I said “what you need.” Too many buyers have a long wish list of things they want, but don’t necessarily think enough about the things that are really important to them. That’s not to say you shouldn’t dream a little, but know that you will have to make trade-offs. And if there is too much on the list you will surely become frustrated in your search.

 

As part of this list you should consider the community and local neighborhood, too. It’s not just about the house itself but the lifestyle. And think about those deal killers…the things that would make you walk away.

 

 

UNDERSTAND LOCAL MARKET CONDITIONS

Real estate is local” is one of the better known truths about housing. Local market conditions affect you as a buyer in significant ways – the amount of inventory available to you that fits your budget, competition from other buyers who want the same thing you do, prices, the strategy to use when making an offer, and how your agent will negotiate your offer.

 

You need to do plenty of research – indeed finding a home is like a full-time job -  and looking at homes will help you better understand the market, value, and your needs. But the most reliable source of information about the local market and HOW this affects you is your REALTOR®. Not the media, your best friend, your family or your neighbors. Ask lots of questions so you understand.

 

 

know your costsBE AWARE OF THE COSTS OF BUYING A HOME

There are plenty of costs associated with buying a home. The major cost, of course, is the price of the house…and your mortgage. But there are costs during the due diligence phase after you have a contract, the down-payment, and closing costs required by the lender and escrow.

 

Here are the buyer’s expected costs in a real estate transaction.

 

 

HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

If you are going to buy a home you need to take it very seriously, and have an attitude of commitment to: research; asking questions; getting financially prepared; spending the necessary time to look at homes and neighborhoods; and to the process itself and working with your REALTOR®.

 

This may not be your dream home so be realistic. You won’t be living in your first house forever. You should plan on there being some trade-offs, and things about the house you are not in love with. But keep focused on your long-term goal – buying your first home!

 

You should be excited! This will be fun, although you’ll also experience some anxiety and nerves.

 

Remain positive. In our competitive market with limited inventory and competition it may take you a while to find the right home. And some buyers have to make more than one offer before they are successful. DON’T GIVE UP! Your REALTOR® will be able to help with this.

 

Carlsbad home searchAre you ready to start YOUR search for a new home in Carlsbad or elsewhere in North San Diego County? Please give me a call at (760) 840-1360 so we can set a time to sit down and discuss your needs, answer your questions, and craft a plan that will get you into your first home this year.

 

You can start your search in Carlsbad or nearby using the link to the right with listings updated 24/7. Just CLICK on the photo and you are on your way.

 

#AtHomeInCarlsbad ~ #FirstTimeHomeBuyer ~ #HowToBuyAHome ~ #HowToBuyAHouse

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Roy Kelley 08/21/2017 01:00 AM
  2. Gabe Sanders 07/09/2017 11:40 PM
Topic:
Home Buying
Location:
California San Diego County Carlsbad
Groups:
1st Time Buyers
Local Expert
Buyer Information - What Buyers Need to Know in Today's Market
Advice for Buyers
HyperLocal Neighborhood and Community Posts
Tags:
first time home buyers
how to buy a house
how to buy a home
home buying tips and advice
jeff dowler crs
what first tie home buyers need to know

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Rainmaker
4,797,811
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Jeff.  This is valuable advice for all first-time buyers (and also applies to even seasoned buyers).

Jun 27, 2017 04:29 AM #8
Rainmaker
3,176,441
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Jeff... wish I could add something to this list, but I can't! Great post and great advice for all kinds of buyers, not just first-timers.

Jun 27, 2017 05:46 AM #9
Rainmaker
4,135,114
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Jeff, great list of items of importance for Buyers, and hope they give you a call when ready to move.

Jun 27, 2017 06:08 AM #10
Rainmaker
797,028
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Excellent post for first time buyers. There is lots of things to ask questions about, when our son bought his home he had a ton of questions which we realized he had not been paying attention when we discussed our work but was now important to him as a buyer.

Jun 27, 2017 07:44 AM #11
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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Jeff - Excellent post. That's a very simple but thorough list for home buyers - those that follow it will have a much better experience with the home buying process.

Jun 27, 2017 08:21 AM #12
Rainmaker
3,393,460
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Jeff - a very thoughtful post.  Sometimes first time buyers don't know the questions to ask so your checklist of sorts is a good start.  

Jun 27, 2017 08:59 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,504,834
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Jeff, you've provided great tips to buyers. I had a closing today, it was a first time home buyer, she was crying from happiness in the end. I worked with her on and off for two years, she had many..many..many questions and it was well worth my efforts. I had given her a Buyer's Guide and all the questions I can think of that were asked over the years by home buyers, she raved about it at the closing table.

Jun 27, 2017 05:13 PM #14
Rainmaker
5,463,923
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is excellent information to share with first time home buyers. I will schedule an August reblog.

Jun 28, 2017 04:40 AM #15
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Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216,www.JeremiahNewman.com - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Jeff, I really love how you laid out all the valuable pointers for our first time home buyers. It will certainly help them understand and be prepared for the whole process of buying a home.

Jun 28, 2017 02:59 PM #16
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi George Souto  - well I certainly think so. There's a lot to know and do and you need to do it well!

Yes I run into that lack of being realistic often Sally K. & David L. Hanson  But buyers need to understand when they are NOT realistic so they don't waste time.

Jeff

Jun 28, 2017 06:00 PM #17
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Ron and Alexandra Seigel  - thank you. This was inspired by a couple of terrific first time buyers I have worked with recently.

I think that's true Hannah Williams 

Jeff

Jun 28, 2017 06:11 PM #18
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Kathy Streib  It's pretty essential for any buyer I suppose. Thanks

I think that's very true Debbie Reynolds I always enjoy hearing what buyers do know, and helping them what they don't!

Jef!

Jun 28, 2017 06:28 PM #19
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi James Dray  That's an excellent point. It definitely is an issue. I think it can be tough for new buyers to have to decide quickly but it's essential. If they are reall well prepared that can help.

Thanks so much Gabe Sanders 

Jeff

Jun 28, 2017 06:37 PM #20
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Nina Hollander  What a nice thing to say. I think I would add that buyers need to become familiar with the paperwork, at least the offer to purchase contract, early on.

Thank you so much Joan Cox  I really enjoy working with first time buyers!

Jeff

Jun 28, 2017 06:46 PM #21
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543 Good thing he realized that buying a home WAS the right time to ask a lot of questions. I have to say my daughters learned a lot from being around me, but when time came for them both to buy there were a ton of questions, too!

Thanks for the kind words Dick Greenberg . There IS a lot to know, as we both are keenly aware of. Some of this is pretty basic, but the basics are key.

Jeff 

Jun 28, 2017 07:43 PM #22
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Michael Jacobs  - thank you! Some buyers have a better sense of the process, and questions to ask, than others do!

What a great story Beth Atalay  Congratulations to your buyer and to you. It's so rewarding to help a new buyer get to the closing table!!

Jeff

Jun 28, 2017 07:46 PM #23
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Roy Kelley  What a nice compliment! Thank you.

Hi Jerry Newman  Preparation is really the key, isn't it?

Jeff

Jun 28, 2017 07:53 PM #24
Rainer
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Steve Bracero
Heisler and Mattson - Shrewsbury, MA
First Time Homebuyer and Investor Specialist

Hi Jeff, this is a very informative post for first time homebuyers! 

Jun 29, 2017 06:15 AM #25
Rainer
134,283
Shahar Hillel
Augusta Financial Inc. - Stevenson Ranch, CA
Mortgage Consultant, Loan Officer.

jeff hello.

Great information for first time home buyers.

 

Jul 09, 2017 11:50 PM #26
Rainmaker
3,284,100
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Excellent advice and a profile our first timers fit very well !

Jul 10, 2017 05:36 PM #27
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