Buying your first home can be both exciting and overwhelming! From financial matters to home inspections, first-time buyers have a lot to learn.
A knowledgeable real estate agent can help you navigate your way and help reduce the stress of it all. According to longtime agent, Steve W. when clients are less stressed they are better prepared to make good decisions. Steve further explains that working with new buyers is the best because it’s very rewarding helping them through this new endevour.
Meeting with a bank or a mortgage broker to determine how much you qualify for is key. It allows your real estate agent to find prospects within your financial range. Steve is quick to point out that just because you qualify for a $400,000 mortgage doesn’t necessarily mean you should accept.
It’s important to evaluate your lifestyle. If you like to travel, eat out often or have a need for an extravagant shoe collection, you will want to consider how carrying a large mortgage payment will affect your budget. In other words, you do not want to be house poor.
Getting pre-approved also strengthens your offer. Sellers love seeing that potential buyers have officially been pre-approved.
Picking Your Real Estate Agent
Steve warns to be leery of agreeing to work with the first person who pops to mind. This is a major financial decision and just because you have a friend who is a real estate agent doesn’t necessarily mean they have the specific skills you are looking for, like negotiating or being a neighborhood expert. When you use Fivewalls, you can view hundreds of real estate agent’s profiles and read their reviews. You can get a feel for an agent before you even meet, making the whole process seem more personal and efficient. If you are not connecting with them in a way you hoped, there are always more agents for you to speak with.
The Fine Print
A good real estate agent will take the time to walk you through all the paperwork that comes with buying a home. From the exclusive agent agreement, to the offer, to land transfer fees. They will take the time to break down the legal jargon and answer any of your questions.
Steve can’t emphasise enough that there really are no stupid questions and you can never ask too many. Again, it’s all the more reason you need to select an agent you can communicate with openly and honestly. Don’t get blindsided because you didn’t feel comfortable speaking up to your agent.
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Depending on your circumstances, you’ll likely have well-meaning advice coming from family and friends. And although in many big markets where parents are helping with down payments, Steve cautions that too many opinions from different people can cloud your judgement. He points out that at the end of the day, you are the one who will live there and you are the one who will pay the bills.
When it comes to the professionals a good real estate agent can direct you to the right people such as a reliable home inspector. Again, this isn’t the time to just hire someone because they are family, Steve warns. A professional inspector can alert you to any issues (and issues that could arise in the future) your property may have.
Steve is quick to find out his client’s “wish lists”. Wish lists include everything a buyer is hoping to find in their new home. Things like an open-concept floor plan, hardwood flooring and a finished basement almost always make it on the list. Sometimes wishes are realistic and sometimes, not quite. A good real estate agent can balance your budget with your wish list. Steve W. >> likes to remind his clients a property that is 78% can be made 100% by you! In other words, no property will be absolutely perfect right off the bat, but with a little imagination, hard work and dedication, it can become the perfect home for you.