A first time home buyer should be like a hawk—surveying the local and regional real estate market. By knowing how the market behaves, a first time home buyer can monitor the selling prices of comparable homes in their area, which thereby allows them to be a bit more knowledgeable when going to look at homes. Web sites such as Zillow can give a first time home buyer a general idea of what’s out there. Real estate listings are also abundant on the Internet, through sites like the National Association of Realtors®. It’s a good idea to create a few Google Alerts for when new homes come on the market—and don’t be shy about picking up those real estate magazines sitting on the rack in the supermarket either.
Timing is everything, don’t hesitate. It’s not rare for a home to sell super fast—especially when cash buyers are involved. According to the National Board of Realtors, “The median time on market for all homes was 48 days in April, down from 55 days in March.” While the general rule of thumb for a first time home buyer is almost always to take your time and not rush, making haste when in the home buying process can sometimes result in getting the home of your dreams. But be aware: this only works if you have all of your ducks in a row and feel comfortable pulling the trigger.
It’s okay to make the acquaintance of local real estate agents or mortgage brokers, even if you’re not ready to pull the trigger just yet. A first-time home buyer shouldn’t be shy about calling and asking for advice about the home buying process. Making friends in the marketplace is a good way to vet the people who may end up helping you apply for a mortgage and may hold the keys to your new home. If you have in fact found a broker and a real estate agent that meets your needs in terms of understanding the process, be sure that these folks are also professional, friendly, honest and courteous people. Another good first time home buyer tip is to ensure that your real estate agent and broker are able to work together. Teamwork is vitally important for a first time home buyer.