You’re a few years out of school, you’ve got a good job and a steady salary, and you’re ready to take the next step into home-ownership. You’re excited and ready to go, and really ready to stop paying rent. And then you hear about the craziness in the housing market. Should you rethink your plans? No. This home-buying thing may seem like an overwhelming, impossible process but here are a few tips to make your first home-buying experience memorable and smooth.
Hire an exceptional Realtor
An exceptional Realtor can literally be the difference between a smooth, enjoyable process and an emotional, scary nightmare. Your Realtor should be your advocate, educating you about the process, and pointing out both benefits and risks of the homes and neighborhoods you’re seeing. An exceptional Realtor will be able to analyze a neighborhood market in order to devise a workable pricing strategy, and they will be able to communicate and negotiate effectively on your behalf with the seller and listing agent. You should interview several Realtors in order to find one with whom you connect well and like.
Find a good lender
Similar to hiring an exceptional Realtor, you should also find a good lender. A good lender will be able to explain the lending programs that are available to you, and they’ll help you determine what you can afford to spend as well as what you want to spend (sometimes those are two different figures!). A good lender should understand and be able to explain the timing of the loan process, and they should be able to get your loan approved in advance of the closing. Before you start looking at homes, you need to determine who your lender will be and become pre-approved with a lender letter in hand.
Narrow your criteria ahead of time
The market is moving quickly. Often times, homes come on the market mid-week, showings start on Friday and offers are due by Monday morning. Buyers may not have a lot of time to deliberate over any one house in particular before they would need to make an offer. It’s important to spend some time online looking at homes and neighborhoods to determine what’s important to you so that when you actually start looking, you’ll know quickly whether a house will work for you or it won’t.
The chance of competing with other buyers in a multiple offer situation is extremely high. Buyers who are flexible, especially with closing dates and rent-backs are the ones who tend to win out, even if their offers are not the highest in price. If it’s a house you love and really want, being as flexible as possible gives you the best chance of winning in the bidding war. That being said…
Know your limits
Be flexible but don’t go farther than you are comfortable going, either emotionally or financially. The last thing you want is to overpay or feel like you are giving up more than you are comfortable giving up. That will only lead to regret. Instead, know how far you’re willing to go and go there with your offer, in both price and terms. If you end up winning, more power to you; if you don’t, know that this wasn’t meant to be your house and there is a better house out there waiting for you. Stick to your limits and you’ll find the right one.
With an exceptional Realtor, a good lender, a realistic list of your criteria, and knowing your position with respect to flexibility and limits, you’ll be able to successfully navigate the home-buying process and be able to share your smooth, enjoyable first-time buying experience with family and friends. Happy house-hunting!
Renee Cohen is a Colorado Realtor with a passion for helping her clients find their dream homes in the challenging Denver market. She loves educating her clients about the market, advocating on their behalf, and helping them make informed decisions. Reputable. Reliable. Remarkable. Real Estate. Contact Renee to assist you with your real estate needs!