How To Buy Your First House

April 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Home & Garden

first house

It’s not uncommon for a first-time home buyer to say to me, "Gosh, just last week I called you about buying a home and now I’m in escrow! How did this happen so fast?" The answer is it didn’t. First-time home buyers start searching long before most even realize it.

Here’s what you can expect from your home shopping experience.

Benefits for a First-Time Home Buyer

You keep hearing from your friends and family that you should buy a home which means that by now you have likely already weighed the benefits and costs and decided that home ownership was the best decision for you. That in and of itself is a major hurdle. You may even be familiar with housing costs and locations. This tells me that you are focused and determined. Good!

Defining Search Parameters for a First-Time Home Buyer

Almost 80% of all home searches today begin on the Internet. With just a few clicks of a mouse, home buyers can search through hundreds of online listings, view virtual tours, and sort through dozens of photographs and aerial shots of neighborhoods and homes. You’ve probably defined your goals and have a pretty good idea of the type of home and neighborhood you want. By the time you reach your real estate agent’s office, you are halfway to home ownership.

How Long Should It Take to Buy Your First Home?

I often only show one home in seller’s markets. After all, most families are only looking for one home. Home buyers who search for years usually aren’t very motivated to find a home. A motivated buyer will find a home within two weeks. Most of my buyers find a home within two days. Good real estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and arrange to show only those homes which fit your particular parameters. Your agent should preview homes before showing them to you as well in order to more accurately answer your questions and meet your needs.

It is impossible to say exactly how long it will take though as the markets are always shifting and you should watch out for “bubbles”. If you were to look at the Scottsdale Real Estate market, you’d see that 5 years ago the market was completely different than today. The time it takes to buy a home largely depends on the market and being aware of the market conditions can help you a lot.

How Many Homes Will a Home Buyer See?

Studies show that your memory dramatically improves after consumption of carbohydrates and slows upon consuming sugar. So, lay off the soft drinks and have a hearty meal of carbs before venturing out to tour homes! The average number of homes that I show to a buyer in one day is seven. If I show any more than that my buyers will be exhausted. Therefore, don’t expect to see 20 or 30 homes; although it’s physically possible to do so, you probably will not remember specific details about any of them.

The "Red Shoes" Experience for a Home Buyer

Say, you need a new pair of red shoes. You go to the mall and at the first shoe store you find a fabulous pair of red shoes. You try them on and they fit perfectly. They are glamorous and priced just right. Do you buy them? Of course not! You go to every other store in the mall trying on red shoes until you are ready to drop from exhaustion. Then you return to the first store and buy those red shoes. Do not shop for a home this way. When you find the perfect home, buy it! It’s hard for home buyers to find the perfect home and most homes go fast. Don’t miss out on your chance. It is essential that you act fast when you find a home that meets your needs.

Easy Step By Step Instruction ForRating Inventory
  • Bring a digital camera and begin each series of photos with a close-up of the house number to identify where each group of home photos start and end.
  • Take copious notes of unusual features, colors and design elements.
  • Try to imagine your furnishings and pictures in the home.
  • Pay attention to the home’s surroundings. What is next door? Do 2-story homes tower over your single story?  
  • Do you like the location? Is it near a park or a power plant? Is it near good schools?
  • Immediately after leaving, rate each home on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
View Top Choices a Second Time Before Buying That First Home

After touring homes for a few days, you will probably instinctively know which one or two homes you would like to buy. Ask to see them again. You will see them with different eyes and notice elements that were overlooked the first time around. At this point, your agent should call the listing agents to find out more about how serious the seller is about selling the home. The agent should also double-check that an offer hasn’t come in to make sure these homes are still available.

Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions When Making the Selection To Buy a Home

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I generally know which home a buyer is going to choose. I suspect most other agents operate the same way. It’s an intuition. However, I make it a practice not to steer buyers and I insist that buyers choose the home they want without interference from me. It’s not my choice to make. Real estate agents are required, however, to point out defects and should help buyers feel confident that the home selected meets the buyer’s search parameters.

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