5 Things First Time Home Buyers Should Know Before Starting Their Search

Buying a home is a big deal and there is no sugar coating this fact.  Buying a home shouldn’t be taken lightly and there are certain things that should be completed BEFORE beginning a home search.

Working as a Rochester NY real estate agent for over 6 years, I’ve helped hundreds of first-time buyers with the purchase of their first home.  I’ve seen buyers who’re prepared for their search and others who have absolutely no idea where to begin. 

I can assure you that when buying a home for the first time, you should know some very important things before beginning your search.

In this article, you’re going to find out 5 extremely important things first time buyers should know BEFORE starting their home search.  Buyers who have a strong understanding of these 5 things will make the process seem less stressful and will enjoy it more.  Remember, when buying a home, preparation is key!

1. Get Educated

One of the biggest mistakes that I see made by first-time buyers is they don’t have any idea what the steps to buying a house are.  Certainly, the steps to buying a house aren’t the same for every person's circumstances and situation, however, they are very similar in most cases.

For example, buyers who understand what happens after they find their dream home will be more comfortable when the time comes to perform inspections, shop for homeowners insurance, and other various steps.

Oh, and one last thing on the "Get Educated" front: don't buy during a seller's market. Sellers are essentially able to name their price during this time (because demand for homes is high but supply is scarce), and you'll have less latitude as a buyer to negotiate.

2. Get A Top Real Estate Agent

There are many tips for first-time home buyers.  I’m a huge believer that the most important however is making sure you hire a top real estate agent. 

When buying your first home your real estate agent is your biggest ally, fan, and supporter.  Your buyer's agent is going to be the person who provides you advice throughout the process from how much you should offer for a home to the type of inspections that you can choose from.

Before starting your home search, it’s vital that you’ve found and hired a top agent who you’re comfortable with and can trust.  If you’re unsure on how to find a top real estate agent, ask your friends, family, relatives, or check out some online reviews of agents in your market. 

Once you’ve found a couple agents that you feel might be a good fit, sit down and interview them.  Ask these agents questions about their business, how they work with their buyers, what services they provide, and other important interview questions to ask real estate agents.

3. Get Pre-Approved For A Mortgage

After you’ve hired a top real estate agent to assist you with the purchase of your first home, they’re going to recommend and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.  Before starting the search for your first home, it’s critical to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

As you’re learning about the process of buying your first home, you’re going to recognize there is a difference between mortgage pre-approvals and mortgage pre-qualification.  Having a mortgage pre-approval gives a buyer an advantage over other buyers who’ve only been pre-qualified.

As you’re shopping around for mortgage lenders, make sure you’re asking the proper questions and finding out all of the fees and costs they charge.  A top real estate agent will be able to provide a couple of recommendations to some of the best mortgage lenders, so ask them!

4. Get Comfortable

Buying your first home is a big step, so it’s extremely important that you’re comfortable and confident that you’re ready for this.  Owning a home comes with additional responsibilities and costs that many first time buyers neglect to consider.

As you’re preparing to buy your first home, you need to consider all of the expenses of owning a home.  Expenses such as utilities, insurance, refuse, and maintenance are often overlooked by first-time buyers and can end up adding a lot of stress after closing when these expenses start to add up!

5. Get Ready

The process of buying a home for the first time takes time, effort, persistence, and patience.  I can’t stress enough the importance of being ready to buy your first home.

Many first time buyers often underestimate the amount of time it takes to buy a home.  You’re going to spend time shopping for homes, attending inspections, completing mortgage applications and purchase offers, and a variety of other tasks throughout the process.

It’s paramount that before you jump into the buying process that you’re ready to give it you're all!  When buying your first home, you need to be ALL-IN!

Final Thoughts

Owning a home is often referred to as the “American Dream.”  Home ownership is something that most are proud of.  It’s not something that should be taken lightly though.  First-time buyers who understand the above 5 things BEFORE starting their search will not only enjoy the experience more but, in most cases, will be more successful.

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Kyle Hiscock is a Realtor in Rochester NY with RE/MAX Realty Group. He is the founder and owner of his website, Rochester Real Estate Blog, where he frequently publishes helpful real estate-related content.

Connect with Kyle on Twitter @KyleHiscockRE.