First Time Home Buyer’s Guide – Step 3 – The fun begins!

If you haven’t read part 1 or part 2 of this series, please do so now.

The Buyer’s Agent:
So, now you know how much home you can afford and you’ve saved up for a down payment. The time has come for you to find your first home!

Before you start searching, you want to find a buyer’s agent. It is important for you to have your own representation when purchasing a home. If you call the agents that have the property listed, they are obligated to be looking out for their seller’s best interest. The main reason agents put their names on their listings’ signs and ads, is because their commission gets doubled if they sell their own listing.

You can get a buyer’s agent, like myself, absolutely free because the commission is paid for by the sellers and is split. Not many people know this. It is their obligation and duty to make sure that you get the best deal possible and negotiate with the selling agent for you.  A good buyer’s agent can also help you find a property that suits your needs because they am constantly watching the market and know what you are looking for. They also have tools to update you on potential properties automatically via email.

Probably the biggest benefit of having a buyer’s agent, is that you can tell them what properties you would like to see, and they can show them all to you at one predetermined time. Otherwise, you would have to call every single agent, set up multiple appointments at times convenient for all of them, and meet motivated salesmen trying to double their commission.

One little known fact, as a buyer you are responsible for turning on utilities and inspecting the property with professionals. You usually have 5-15 days to do this in. A good buyers agent can make sure this gets done correctly and on time.

Another thing to keep in mind is, most agencies charge a transaction fee. This is a $175-$200 fee, in Canton, Ohio area, that is charged at closing and is totally not necessary. My company and I do not charge this fee, saving you money. Ask your potential agent if their brokerage charges this.

The Search:
Of course, the internet is a great way to look for a home. This generation of home buyers is lucky because we can view lots of details about a property right from home. It used to be, you had to sit down with an agent at their office and flip through a black and white “catalog” of homes. I can still remember my parents doing just this. Here are a few sites to look for a home:

Tips for finding the perfect home:

  • In this buyer’s market, it’s not a bad idea to search a little above your price range and offer lower.
  • Determine exactly what you want and need. Bedroom count, garage spaces, basement, large kitchen, dining room, air conditioning, first floor laundry, etc.
  • Keep resale value in mind. A three bedroom home is easier to sell than a two bedroom and so on. Also, a pool can be nice, but those with small children generally don’t buy houses with a pool.
  • Consider maintenance on the property. If you have a 2 acre yard, remember you have to mow that. Long driveways need plowed. Wood siding needs painted every few years.
  • Watch the taxes and keep in mind which areas are higher than others.
  • If you have any questions about a property, ask your buyer’s agent to find out.

The Showing:
This is where the fun begins. When you are ready to look at your first home, it’s as easy as a phone call and a drive. You can probably get 2 or 3 showings in an hour depending on the distance from one another. Make sure all parties involved in the purchase go to the showing. Look in every nook and cranny to make sure you notice anything wrong.

Try to imagine yourself living in each home. Think about where you want to put your furniture, what color you would paint the walls, what is the best angle for viewing the TV. Vocalize what you like and don’t like, this way your agent gets a better idea of what you are looking for. Take the kids along and ask them which one is their favorite. Imagine how you would decorate or where you would work on the bike. Wonder if there is enough room in the driveway or sidewalk to teach the kids how to ride a bike. Ask yourself if you could see yourself living in this home 5 or 10 years down the road. Could you host thanksgiving dinner or host a euchre game? What would you change about the landscaping, or would you leave it like it is? Think about the dog (or future dog) and if there’s enough room for him/her to run around. Could you hold a family barbeque? Could you throw a football in the back yard? Most importantly, could you live there?

While it is a fun process to look for a home, it can be a little nerve wrecking. This is probably going to be the largest investment you’ve ever made. Often, first time home buyers get so nervous about buying the right property for them, they over analyze every home, and never end up finding anything they like. Remember that this is only your first home, and you can sell any time and move on to bigger and better. One thing to keep in mind is that when the real estate market bounces back, you could be sitting on a lot of equity because you bought during a low priced market.

Call or email me today to buy your first home! 330-412-2221 joey@whippleauction.com

Part 4: The offer! – Coming Soon!

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