Buying a home is so exciting, but it can be incredibly stressful. As a Realtor, I have had the opportunity to guide first-time home buyers through the process. I know what they are feeling because I have been there. When my husband and I bought our first home, we were clueless. Before becoming Realtors, we bought three houses and sold two. We get just how daunting this process can be, so here are a few things you should know before you start your home search:
1. Consider your financing options first
Before you begin your home search, it is important to determine how you will be paying for the home and how much you can afford. It is best to start your home search once have a pre-approval letter from a lender. When we bought our first home, we financed through our bank because we were familiar with them. When we bought our home in Temecula, we planned to use our bank again. While considering the interest rates that our bank was offering, a friend recommended a local loan officer. He was absolutely incredible and completely changed my opinion of working with a local company for a home loan. Working with him was so much simpler than working with our bank. It simplified the process and made it so easy to have one person we could call or text when we had a question or concern. We also got a better interest rate than we would have with our bank. He helped us to understand the different home loan types and which would be most beneficial for us.
2. Determine where you want to live
This seems so basic, but there are often so many factors that influence where we want to live. When we moved to Temecula, we wanted to live in South Temecula because we were commuting to San Diego daily. We also wanted to live in an area with great schools. Consider what community or neighborhood features are important to you.
3. Hire a Realtor
This was such a confusing process for me when we began our home search. I spent hours on home search websites finding homes and making lists of the real estate agents for each home. I was relieved to find that I could work with one agent who would do all this for me. We found an amazing agent, gave her our list of what we wanted in a home and she found properties that were a good fit for us. When we found the perfect home, she helped us put in a competitive offer and negotiate with the seller’s agent. The agents who are advertising the home are hired by the seller, so you want to have an agent who is working for you and looking out for your best interests. Interview a few agents and make sure that he/she is a good fit for you. There are so many great real estate agents, so don’t settle for an agent who you feel doesn’t meet your needs. When interviewing agents, ensure that he/she is a REALTOR. Many people don’t realize that there is a difference in a real estate agent and a REALTOR. They are more than just real estate agents, they are members of the National Association of REALTORS and are held to a high code of ethics based on professionalism and protection of the public.
The home buying process doesn’t have to be stressful. Contact me for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your home needs. Even if you aren’t looking to buy now, I can provide valuable information to help you make an informed decision.
Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash