From NAR (National Association of Realtors): “First-time buyers made up 33 percent of all home buyers, the same as last year. Fifty-two percent of buyers 30 to 39 years and 88 percent of buyers 29 years and younger were first-time home buyers. Following, 23 percent of buyers 40 to 54 years were also first-time home buyers.”
First-time buyers make up such a HUGE portion of buyers in the market, many are getting burnt out in this market, but there are some do’s and don’ts that I think can help elevate and ease their process an troubles.
I didn’t know the difference, no one ever told me. When I found out there were different ways, different places I could get a mortgage from I was shocked and I felt betrayed. How did I NOT know this?? Why didn’t someone tell me along the way? I think it is natural not to question lenders – afterall they deal with the big bucks, they calculate facts and figures all day, how could there possibly be room to shop elsewhere in their precise calculations? I’m telling you now, as a person who now has 4, maybe 5, mortgages – all with different lenders – Every home, every situation, every change in rates is a reason to check all possible options! Sometimes banks (or credit unions) have great First-Time buyer programs, grants, credits. Sometimes mortgage brokers have the best rates, downpayment options, etc. And this changes all the time, so it is REALLY in a buyers best interest to literally SHOP for a loan. Think of it this way: They’re making money off of you & your loan, They’re the ones that want your business – Make them fight for it, not the other way around.
- Hiring a Pro
I know what everyone’s thinking, “of course you’d suggest hiring a Realtor”. Fair. BUT my reasoning for this is also fair. Resources! You want to know which lenders, inspectors, banks, engineers, contractors, etc. that have been successful in completing a job and highly regarded enough for establishments to actually refer them.
Opinions matter. It’s hard to see market changes from the outside as much as it is to see from within. Seeing what homes closed for recently in the area , it’s easier to know what to offer. There’s a wealth of information hidden in the MLS (mutliple-listing service) that only licensed professionals (i.e. real estate agents, appraisers, brokers, etc) are privy too. If you hire a pro, be prepared to get their insight, ASK for their opinion – it could make your next deal!
- Strong Offers
In this market strong offers are all the hubbub. 3 days of showings, or being on the market, and then buyers are then required to offer “highest and best” by 6pm. The best part of a seller’s market is also understanding that highest & best is relative to each individual person/seller. A “Best” offer might include time – time for the seller to move, or maybe it includes a tax prebate return. We don’t have a crystal ball, but sometimes buyers can try to cater to a seller’s needs/wants without necessarily being a highest priced offer.
As a first-time buyer – this is a big investment, maybe the biggest one made up to this point in life – so it should be ENJOYABLE. I like to ask a lot of questions, and sometimes first-time homebuyers really Need to see several places to “know” what they like. I’ll give an example: when I was home shopping, I knew walkability was very important for my family. I wanted sidewalks & trails. I wanted to be in a neighborhood. I loved the town I lived in, and narrowed down a few neighborhoods.
You might say – it’s a different time, and being picky isn’t an option. I say to that – there are MANY great towns that I know and love because I’ve worked within most of them, or visited friends, family, or been to events in others. If you’re not sure what you’d like in a home’s location – check out the town. Visit the local establishments, or parks, talk to community members, get the sense of what the town is like. Work commute matters as well, maybe run a practice commute, see if it’s what you expected. Be mindful of location, but also explore. A 15 minute commute on the highway might be better or worse than a 15 minute drive through a quaint town center. If you really love a town, but there’s not a ton for sale – check out the neighbor towns. Land borders are invisible, and sometimes here (in northwest Vermont) can mean a hefty decrease in taxes!