I’ve had a sudden flush of first time homebuyers lately. Seems like a good time to share the advice I always give them……..and I can just send them this post so I don’t have to say it multiple times 😉
MY ADVICE TO FIRST TIME BUYERS:
1. Buy as big of a house in as good of condition as possible in a neighborhood that has good resale potential. Right now, a small houses probably seems big to you since you are likely in an apartment. I don’t understand it, but somehow, the older you get the more space you need. The larger the house is, the more likely you are to stay longer. Plus, if interest rates get high, you might not be able to move into the next house you want for awhile. NEVER sacrifice location unless you just got a screaming good deal on a house. Reason is because you will one day need to be a first time seller. You want to be able to dispose of it quickly so you can make an offer on your next house. I have had several first time sellers miss their dream house because they had a hard time getting rid of the old one. Enjoy your first home, but realize it is a tool than can help or hinder your steps up the property ladder.
2. Be ready to pull the trigger when you do find the right one. Most first time buyers have only thought as far ahead as finding the right house. Once they do, there is that point where a decision has to be made. I see many first timers need time to wrap their head around the idea that they are about to buy a house, and lose it to another buyer while they waited. So, think ahead. Do whatever you need to be able to move forward when the time comes.
3. Realize the house is for sale. I know it seems silly, but most first timers kind of feel like the house is reserved for them until they decide if they want it or not. Truth be told, I did the same thing when I was a first time buyer. Unfortunately, there is no calling dibbs on a house until you have a contract to buy it.
4. Don’t be afraid to hire your own realtor……and know that they are free to you. Your realtor splits the commission with the listing realtor, but works only for you. I run into a lot of first time buyers who haven’t hired a realtor because they think they have to pay them.
5. Don’t be too impressed with how pretty the seller’s furniture looks. Most people buy a house on how they feel when we are inside of it. It is sooooo much easier to sell a house when the seller has it decorated really nice. I love it when I am the listing agent for those houses! Keep in mind that all the pretty stuff is going with the seller. Focus on what you are really buying……the house. And, don’t assume a house with a lot of new updates is in good condition. Plenty of people prefer to spend their money on a new counter top or hardwood floors and have a roof or furnace that is on their last leg.
6. Have fun on the journey. It can be stressful at times, but it should be a happy milestone in your life. You only get to be a first time buyer once!