First-Time Home Buyer Angst and Stress is Normal

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

first-time home buyersProbably because of the lower prices in Sacramento, I have been working lately with a larger than usual number of first-time home buyers. Almost 80% of my closed sales for the last quarter were first-time home buyers. The other 20% were investors, and investors are hot-to-trot over entry-level homes as well. Throw into the mix that much of the inventory offered for sale are bank-owned homes or short sales, and you've got a lot of competition for some homes.

It's not easy for buyers to write that first offer. Many are filled with trepidation that they will screw up somehow or make a huge mistake. But that fear is quickly overshadowed when they find out their offer was rejected because it wasn't high enough, and some other lucky buyer snagged their dream home. Winning offers are often just a $1,000 or so above the second highest offer. That's extremely stressful for buyers to digest. To be so close, yet so far away, from home ownership.

Yet when an offer is accepted, some buyers can't believe it. They keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. They say, "Something is wrong with this deal. We got everything we wanted." And then irrational fears set in. That little nagging voice in the back of their minds can't let them sleep at night. Some worry something awful might happen, and their transaction will not close. But my transactions close. I make certain they close.

Two couples who were buying homes in Land Park last week expressed those fears, and neither of the couples knew each other. They both called on the same day to ask identical questions. It was eerie. But in retrospect, not uncommon.

Here are some ideas first-time home buyers can use to help alleviate the angst that accompanies buying a home:

  • Get preapproved by underwriting. A mortgage broker can submit your loan application and verify your employment before you write an offer.
  • Find a real estate agent you trust -- in whom you can place your confidence.
  • Get a copy of the documents you will sign before you sign them.
  • Read the purchase contract and buyer broker contract -- ask questions. For example, I point out paragraph 14-b-1 in the C.A.R. contract, which explains that buyers are entitled to inspections and can get their deposit back if it comes to that.
  • Ask for a timeline on the closing process to fully understand all the steps involved. Always find out what happens next.
  • During the transaction, don't be afraid to call your agent with questions. Your agent will guide and advise you.
  • Line up your insurance agent, don't wait until closing to shop for insurance rates and plans.
  • Locate a qualified home inspector. Ask your agent for recommendations, interview the candidates and ask for sample reports.
  • Read every disclosure and report. Ask questions.
  • Don't change your financial situation once you are under contract. Don't buy anything new.

And finally, realize that even the most organized and rational first-time home buyers may experience stress. It's OK to shed a few tears. I don't sugar-coat the journey and promise that nothing will ever go wrong because it might. But almost anything that can go wrong can be fixed. Have faith in your convictions and your agent's track record.

Buyers go through highs and lows during escrow because it's a complex and emotional process. If any real estate agent suggests that buying  a home is all butterflies, cinnamon cookies and puffy-white clouds, you might want to find a more honest agent to guide you.

What's paramount for me is that when the transaction closes, my buyers are ecstatic. That's my goal for first-time home buyers, and I don't settle for anything less.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent

photo: Big Stock Photo




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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Staci Wolff
Prudential First Realty - McHenry, IL

Very nice post.  I think we are all seeing an increase in first time home buyers and we have to make sure they are comfortable the whole way through

Jun 26, 2008 02:16 AM #1
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Thanks, Staci. I believe the extra effort extended toward first-time home buyers is absolutely worth their delight when it closes.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent

Jun 26, 2008 02:19 AM #2
Michael Shankman
Award Realty - Las Vegas, NV
Selling Las Vegas 702-498-3383

good post..I couldn't have wrote it bettre- I try to tell my buyers the same thing..Most of the sales here are bank repos and it could take awhile to hear from the bank- that is the problem...

Jun 26, 2008 02:44 AM #3
Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK

You mean it's not all butterflies, cinnamon cookies and puffy-white clouds???  Darn.  :)

Excellent post, Elizabeth.  The point about getting copies of contracts to review before you have to sign them is great.  We've found that most take the time to read it and when it's time to write an offer, they're much more comfortable with the process.

Jun 26, 2008 05:37 AM #4
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Jesse: I circle the important paragraphs in the contracts, just in case they don't read the whole thing -- and many do not. :)

Hi Michael: We're getting pretty good responses from the REOs, but the short sales are a different story.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent

Jun 27, 2008 05:28 AM #5
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