Buying your first home can be a learn as you go process. But even though everyone’s home buying experience is unique, you can prepare yourself for what’s to come by learning about what helped and held others back. Before you embark on your own home buying journey, here are some of the most important Dos and Don’ts to get you started on the right track.
Of course, there are occasional situations where a home has been purchased at a great price. However, as many disappointed buyers will attest, at least as of the beginning of August, we are still in a “seller’s market.” Many active buyers today falsely assume that this is a “buyer’s market”, and that they will be able to negotiate much lower than the listed price.
Before you can get serious about buying a home, you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. The best time to get pre-approved is just before you start shopping for homes.
“Multiple offers” occur either when a seller receives more than one purchase offer at the same time or receives another offer before a counter offer is presented to the first buyer. This has occurred fairly often since 2012 and has created a frustrating environment for well-qualified buyers who repeatedly are out-bid in their attempts to buy a home.
I have often been asked what the value of a real estate agent is, or why a sales commission of 5-6% is reasonable. I have also been asked what it takes to sell a home, and why more people do not try it themselves. One owner actually loved the idea of selling his home himself so much that he wanted to hire me as an advisor to help guide him through all of the details.
Just a few years ago, less than 20 percent of home sales involved any Internet use. Now over 70 percent of California sales involve buyers searching the Internet for homes, loans, real estate agents, quality of community and schools, and for information about the purchase process.
With so much information available online, real estate search sites have made it easy for most buyers to search on their own for their ideal home. In fact, many current buyers believe they don’t need to use a real estate agent except to do the necessary paperwork.
“We are helping our son with his first home (condo) purchase, and really think he should work with an agent through the entire process. He and his friends feel sure that he does not need to engage an agent until ready to buy, and then he might do well to work with the seller’s agent. Could you please share your thoughts about this issue and also about the various search sites that our son is intending to use?” — A Santa Monica Homebuyer’s Dad