This guest post was contributed by Real Estate Experts, a realty agency serving clients in Hillborough and surrounding neighborhoods.
Are you thinking about making the move into homeownership, but not sure how to make your first home search a success? In this post, we share some tips for first time homebuyers based on our years of experience in the residential real estate industry. Read on to learn how you can find your dream home!
1. Be open to possibility.
One of the most interesting changes in the market over the past several years has been the rise of “midsize metropolitan” culture. Real estate markets in cities like Minneapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee have taken off in recent years, attracting younger homeowners looking to maximize their purchasing power and dig into an expanding local economy. Even if you aren’t planning to move to a new state, we encourage you to think outside the box. You may have a target neighborhood in mind already, but we suggest that you look further afield – you may find attractive options in neighborhoods or suburbs that you hadn’t considered.
2. But be true to yourself.
Have you heard the old saying, “Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish?” Many people will make compromises in their search for a home – fewer square feet in a prime location, a “fixer-upper” that will eventually be a unique historical property, a longer commute from a top-ranking school district – but it’s important to make sure that your compromises represent your true priorities. If you hate long commutes, be wary of properties in far-flung suburbs. If you hate cramped quarters, opt out of smaller homes. If you don’t want to live on a construction site, steer clear of fixer-uppers. On the other hand, if you are willing to take on a project or live in a less-trendy neighborhood, trade on that flexibility like the advantage it can be. Talk frankly to your realtor about your criteria, so that they can offer you listings that will suit your specific personal needs.
3. Take a look around.
One of the most important changes created by the digital revolution has been volume of information access. Time was, you would have to visit a realtor to look at just a handful of listings. Now, you can browse tens of thousands of homes on aggregator sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. We suggest that you use these sites to develop a property profile – think of it as a composite image of your dream home. What architectural styles speak to you? How much space feels comfortable? Are there special features that are important to your lifestyle or your aesthetic sensibility? The more time you spend musing on these questions, the better-equipped you and your realtor will be to zero in on a home you really want to purchase.
4. But don’t get overwhelmed.
Information access can mean information overload – you can spend hours scrolling through gallery after gallery of property photos. We recommend putting some limits on your browsing time so that you don’t wind up feeling overwhelmed by your options. A good strategy is to balance open-ended browsing with other steps in your purchase journey, like contacting realtors and conducting neighborhood research. You can also conduct some informal recon by visting target neighborhoods, either for a quick drive-through or a local event like a farmer’s market or architectural tour.
5. Get your house in order.
One of the most daunting aspects of the house search, especially for first-time homebuyers, is financing. Many buyers put off these responsibilities, procrastinating until they’ve already committed to a particular neighborhood or property profile. The best way to avoid stress and disappointment is to do as much financial preparation as possible ahead of time. Come up with a list of assets, a picture of your projected income, and a realistic savings plan. Your mortgage lending specialist will be able to give you much more detailed feedback about your purchasing power. You can help them by providing them with as much specific information about your finances and expectations as possible.
6. Look at the big picture.
Millennials are taking the residential real estate market by storm, already making up a bigger percentage of homebuyers than their Baby Boomer parents. One of their top priorities is “work/life balance,” and this sensibility has carried over into their search for homes. They are much more likely to place high value on local amenities – museums, parks, downtown shopping districts, and nightlife. We suggest that you take the same holistic view of your home search, and spend time getting to know your target neighborhoods. You’ll get a feel for daily life, and you’ll be able to note down any “For Sale” signs so your real estate agent can follow up later.
7. Don’t overcommit.
Buying a house is a little bit like applying for a job – you’ll look at many different prospects before you settle on one that’s right for you. Along the way, you will almost certainly face rejection. In a competitive market, it’s normal for sellers to encounter multiple appealing offers. In a digital market, it’s normal for changes to happen fairly quickly. If you wind up losing out on a property you’ve fallen in love with, try your best to move on with an open mind. Chances are, you’ll have the opportunity to tour another beautiful property before long.
At Real Estate Experts, our clients are our priority. Visit us online at realestateexperts.net.
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Writer: Valerie Kriss
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