Do not rush into the transaction:
Buyers looking for homes in extremely tight markets may feel pressured to make an immediate offer. Instead, it makes sense to become familiar with the local market before making a purchase offer.
First-time homebuyers, by definition, simply don't have homebuying experience. It may be uncomfortable to ask questions, but ask anyway. Brokers can't answer unasked queries.
Searching in vain for the "ideal" house:
Many buyers run themselves and their brokers ragged as they repeatedly dismiss homes that meet most--but not all--of their specifications. A buyer who turns down a house that meets most criteria may lose the best available property as well as good financing if market conditions change. First-time buyers should surely view different homes before making an offer. That way they can better understand the marketplace and know more about local prices. Brokers will often recommend that buyers, and particularly first-time buyers, avoid jumping on the first property they see - but that they don't drag their feet when the find a house they love, either.
Homes routinely seduce buyers into becoming "house poor," spending so much for a home that they must forego annual vacations, restaurant meals and other forms of entertainment. Pre-approval can help determine a reasonable target price range and also identify the mortgage programs which can work best for you.
Waiting to have a 20% down payment:
While that's an admirable goal, its often years in the future for many first-time buyers. Instead - especially in markets with rising values - buy now with little down. Consider using 80/10/10 financing, VA, FHA and loans with private mortgage insurance (PMI).
It's tough to ignore a home's curb appeal, but what about practical matters? Enough space? Off-street parking? Good construction? Low maintenance? How far to work? Boring stuff - but important.
What about zoning?:
Is the property next door zoned for a 24-hour service station? Fire station? Nuclear test site? Ask the broker about zoning for the property and also the surrounding area.
Do not ignore representation:
The odds are overwhelming that the seller has a broker. What about professional help for you? Ask about buyer brokerage services so you can have equality at the bargaining table.
Have the home inspected by a professional:
A professional home inspection is simply a "must" whether you are buying an existing home or a new one. Speak with inspectors before you enter the marketplace to see how they work, what they cost and what they recommend.
Do not underestimate closing costs:
There is more to buying a home than a downpayment. We can help you estimate probable closing expenses - information you need to avoid unwanted financial surprises.