I love working with first-time buyers!
More than ever before, first-time home-buyers are educated, enthusiastic and ready when they begin their home searches. The internet provides great tools to research towns, school districts and what’s out there. Cable channels like DIY Network and HGTV have given better insight into buying, renovating and maintaining homes. And the housing bubble gave us all a little reality check on what affordability means–and reinforcing the term “starter home.”
But even with all this great information at your fingertips, buying your first home can be intimidating. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and looking at a home on the web is very different from seeing it in person. And putting pen to paper to make an offer stirs up an entirely different and unfamiliar process that even the best TV shows and websites don’t cover well, in my opinion. Here are a few things that are not covered well, in my opinion, and a few ways I can help:
A quick disclosure. As a real estate broker, I take my responsibilities to you, the buyer, very seriously; I work every day to make it fun and painless. Buying a home is a team process that involves many minor and major players. Although I have built a strong network over the years, it bears mentioning that I do not get kick-backs or favors or gifts if I introduce you to a home inspector, an attorney, a broker or anyone else. My interest in it is purely to make your home-buying process smooth if you don’t have a go-to person already lined up.
The pre-look look. You’ve run the numbers, and you know what you’re paying in rent, groceries, bills, student loans and all the rest. You’ve come up with a number that you’re pretty sure you can afford for a mortgage, and a down payment for the house of your dreams. But many home-buyers are so eager to get into a house that they skip some key steps. Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage not only gives you confidence in your calculations, it also strengthens your offer and streamlines the mortgage process. Don’t know a good broker? I can help point you in the right direction and introduce you to contacts I’ve picked up along the way, who can in turn identify a mortgage that fits you best.
Helping to refine your search. As a real estate licensed for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I can set you up to get listings in every town in the state, from Agawam to Yarmouthport and every town between. What I pride myself on, however, is that I know towns well.
Reading between the lines. Once you’ve negotiated an offer, you will want to schedule a home inspection soon. These typically generate a huge report of nearly everything that’s wrong with the property you’ve already fallen in love with. While the home inspection and report should be taken seriously and you should read the full report, it may often seem overwhelming. Having been through dozens of home inspections–for properties I’ve bought, owned, rented, invested in and helped buyers and sellers through–I can help you gain some insight into what’s important and not, what costs a lot and what’s short money, and what needs to be done right away versus those projects that can wait a little while. Of course, if you don’t know a home inspector to begin with, I’ve worked with some of the best in the area and would be happy to provide the connection.
Getting lawyered up. I have yet to see a single show on TV about real estate attorneys, but they are a key part of the process. While a realtor helps you put together a competitive bid on a house, it is the attorney who takes care of the Purchase and Sales agreement (the P&S), the title work, and the actual closing. They work with the seller’s attorney to iron out any difficulties, the mortgage originator and processor to keep the money train moving along, and me to gather information from you. I’ve said it a thousand times: choose your real estate attorney carefully. The good ones work almost invisibly, elevating big issues only as needed. If it’s a solvable problem, I work with the attorney to fix it; the first-time homebuyer has enough to worry about. I have a great network of trusted attorneys who I can connect you with, as well, in case you need one–and I am happy to work with your own if you have already made this selection.
Keeping you out of trouble. I’ve lived in Massachusetts my entire life, and I have steered clients away from making bad decisions. Sometimes, towns that look close to your family or work on a map would make for an awful commute. Other times, the next town over from where you’ve been looking might offer more amenities, affordability, or better schools. In addition, I worked as a mortgage originator for some time–a background that sometimes comes in handy when a buyer is just not getting the input, explanations or results they need from a broker. I’ve developed good instincts along the way, and I share them with my buyers.
Allaying your fears. Any of you who have gone away to college, or gotten married, or had a child or started a big new job know that big decisions often come with big worries. There’s usually a part of the process that feels very overwhelming or scary–or a part that seems to be going to quickly or too slowly. Pick up the phone and call me (or text me). As your real estate agent, I aim to be your trusted guide through the process, helping you understand what’s happening, reinforcing your decisions, and aiding you in the process to get the home of your dreams.
Simply put, working with first-time buyers is one of my favorite parts of the job. Call me at 508.474.5374 and let’s get started.