First-Time Home Buyers

If you are a first-time home buyer, use the guide below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home.

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll work with your lender and receive from them a commitment in writing. You can provide this to the seller and, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller will know immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes - things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer. And always be careful not to communicate to a listing agent any information that can compromise your negotiating position. Remember, the listing agent works for the seller is obligated to share with them anything they learn that could help them get the highest price for their home.
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
  1. Links to detailed maps of your areas of interest.
  2. A list or file of the properties that your agent has shown to you.
  3. Paper and pen or a Google Docs, Notes, or Word file for taking notes as you search.
  4. A phone to snap pictures of homes you have toured to help you remember your favorites and features you really liked.
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Be Objective: In addition to thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
  1. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
  2. Have a pest inspection done.
  3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours before closing.
  4. Check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).

These are just a few ot the items to remember. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. At Crew, we have a 50-point checklist of items that we stay on top of for you once you're under contract, including regular communication with the lender and attorney. Please get in touch to learn more about keeping things on track all the way to closing.