First-Time Home Buyer 101: Five Ways to Jumpstart your Home Search in 2015

Daisy Square Lofts
Daisy Square Lofts
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Patrick and Carrie’s First Home in Plymouth

Buying a home is anything but a passive process.  You must align yourself with a reliable team and take an active role in the process with plenty of communication with both your household members and your real estate team.

Here are five things to think about to get started:

  1.  Find a Local REALTOR in the area of your desired home. A local real estate professional will have knowledge of the schools and neighborhoods in the community in which you’re searching. They can help you determine which neighborhood or street is the best fit for you based on your wants and needs. When your Realtor lives and works in the community, they know it best and can pass on their first-hand knowledge to you.
  1.  Talk to 2-3 lenders (local ones, ideally) and pick one to obtain a Pre Approval. Interviewing multiple lenders is an important step. You want to find someone with whom you’re comfortable discussing your finances and personal information because you will be entrusting them to finance the biggest purchase of your life – so far. It’s also very important to find a lender who will be available to you when you need them, during business hours and beyond. Pre-approvals help gauge how much you can comfortably spend on your home. Local lenders are hopefully easier to meet in person and will understand the area in which you’re buying.
  1.  Spend time in the towns and neighborhoods you’re considering. Going to open houses is a great way to familiarize yourself with the local neighborhoods and home styles. Visiting open houses does not require a pre-approval letter, but it’s recommended to look within your price range. Filling your weekends with open house tours will increase your knowledge of the local market and help you determine what you can get for your money. It’s also important to visit the towns/cities you want to live in and experience the festivals, events, restaurants and shops. You can learn more about the area, meet the locals, and find out what you can buy for your money
  1.  Work your travel plans around house hunting so that you are available when the right house comes up on the market. Good houses go fast, especially in more affordable price ranges. You want to be able to be the first in the door when a good house gets listed, especially during the spring and summer months when there are more buyers searching for homes. The early bird gets the worm!
  1.  Make sure you have prioritized your needs and are realistic based on your price range and the level of competition in the market. You could miss out on the right home if you narrow your search too much. Keep an open mind and trust your REALTOR’s suggestions. Make sure your Realtor knows your deal-breakers, but keep them realistic. Competition has become common lately for good homes, so working with a local expert who is skilled at negotiating and writing offers will put you ahead of the pack.

There are many more items to think about but if you have a good REALTOR they will help you navigate the process and keep you on track to get your ideal next home!