1. STOP USING ZILLOW AS YOUR SOLE RESOURCE.
I know that Zillow is easily accessible and the most widely accepted place to look for homes, but it is not the most accurate. Homes go on and off the market so quickly that if you are just now seeing a home that’s been active for two days, the reality is, it’s probably already gone. My husband and I were the first ones in the door on the house we ended up purchasing, as well as the first to write a contract. Timing is everything! Let your agent take the work out of your search by setting you up to receive homes to your inbox as soon as they go active. Also, clicking “contact agent” on every home that interests you on Zillow will not find you the agent that has your best interest at heart. Do your research and find an agent that you trust.
2.CHOOSE A BUYERS AGENT TO REPRESENT YOU.
A Buyers Agent’s job is to share with you the most accurate, up-to-date information and work on your behalf to get you the perfect home. They are your eyes and ears on the market (and off). You cannot use the excuse that you don’t want to pay an agent to work for you because – you don’t pay them, the seller does! An exceptional Buyers Agent will ask you to come in for a buyer’s consultation before they even show you property. This accomplishes two things: 1) They explain to you the process of purchasing a home and answer any questions that you have and 2) they find out exactly what your needs are and how they can help. Our agent was awesome and we would recommend her to family, friends, acquaintances and strangers!
Let’s say you are the seller, would you want people who have no idea what their budget is inconveniencing you for a private showing of your home? Probably not…..that’s for a trip to the open house. Pre-approval is for YOUR benefit: 1) To make the most of your time and 2) so you will be ready to put a contract on “the one” as soon as you find it. We were pre-approved for 5 months, but when the right one came along, we were ready!
4.PICK AN AREA YOU WANT TO LIVE.
Decide ahead of time the area you want to live in and stick to it. Once you start looking at homes, they all began to blur together and you start giving up things here and there, thinking that this could be “the one.” My husband and I decided there were four things important to us: 1) backyard 2) open kitchen 3) updated and 4) location. Sure there were other things like big master and master bath, finished basement, etc. but when it came down to the perfect house, it had the four things we wanted (especially location) and none of the little things mattered.
5.STOP LOOKING AT FIXER UPPERS.
I love Chip and Jo and Fixer Upper just as much as you do (if not more) but my husband and I are not handy at all. If you are handy, then by all means buy a fixer upper and make it yours with shiplap and everything! But if not, ask yourself these questions: 1) Do we have the extra cash on hand? 2) Do we have the time, patience and skill to complete the projects? 3) Have I calculated the cost of purchasing the home PLUS the labor and supplies it needs? My husband and I looked at a lot of houses that needed work in the beginning and even the middle of our search. But in the end, we bought an updated home in our price range and couldn’t have been happier.
Final Advice for First Time Home Buyers: Don’t rush your first home purchase. Get on the same page as your spouse, team up with an agent you trust to walk you through the process and be prepared for when you find “the one.”Published in