Confusion, lists of requirements, constant cell phone calls to get opinions and a reluctance to commit to anything. You’ve seen them driving up and down the street gazing at your real estate. Fortunately (or unfortunately) – first time home buyers make up one of the fastest growing groups in real estate and home buying jitters is a common ailment.
There is a ton of information to help buyers through the process, yet many first timers make the same mistakes.
1. Jumping from agent to agent (assuming they are using a Realtor®) and never sit down to discuss their specific needs and wants. Reality: The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a giant pantry loaded with stuff- and every agent has the same access to the information. And the current shortage of homes for sale requires quick action on the part of both the buyer and their agent to gain access to the property and write a contract.
2. Listening to everybody and nobody. Friends, family, coworkers and the check out clerk at the grocery store are ready and willing to dispense real estate advice. First time buyers can be overwhelmed with information and forget about their goals and finances. Reality: Take time to sit down and discuss the entire process with your agent. Ask questions during the meeting and process. Listen to the answers and if you aren’t comfortable ask your Realtor® for more detailed information. Friends and family have good intentions but each real estate transaction is different and unique.
3. Lender Shopping. If lender “A” has a good rate maybe lender “B” has a better rate. Compare fees and closing costs prior to selecting your lender. And then stick with them from pre-approval through closing. Don’t keep jumping around thinking there is a better deal to be had. Realty: Based on your credit score and down payment the cost variations between lenders is usually found in out-of-pocket and closing costs. Learn how to compare apples to apples when it comes to financing a home.
4. Short term housing plans versus long term plans. First time buyers don’t think about how long they’re going to stay in the property and how to handle changing and/or expanding needs. Reality: Think about resale! Furniture, adequate space for family members and vehicles. How much repair and updating is needed? Are there a lot of homes for sale on the street or area? Plot out a smart path- purchase with the end game in mind.
5. Thinking about writing an offer for a day or two. And end up losing the real estate. Reality: There is an old adage in real estate…”the home you look at today and want to think about may be purchased by the person who looked at it yesterday and wrote a contract today…..”. The current real estate market in greater Cincinnati has too few homes for sale. In some “hot areas” buyers are writing a purchase contract prior to seeing the property in order to secure a deal. After first time buyers miss out on 1 or 2 homes they quickly adjust to writing a contract sooner rather than later.
6. Listen to their Realtor® when writing an offer. Listening tovthe advice of friends and family and writing a bad offer doesn’t buy you a home. Reality: Family and friends are important and their input is welcome- but your agent knows the market and provides MLS data for you to review – so play it smart when writing an offer.
Finally, if you have questions-ask – find the answers before you sign a legally binding purchase contract.