The first step in purchasing a home is to get together with a Lender to see how much house you can afford and have a Pre-Qualification Letter indicating the amount and type of financing. I would be happy to refer you to a few.
Yes, communication between you and your Realtor is very important throughout the entire process. I have worked with many First Time Home Buyers. I can almost specialize in it. I would be happy to put you in touch with some of my previous Buyers as a reference. You can chat with them as to how we worked together to find them their first home. It is very exciting!
Accredited Buyers Representative
Graduate Realtor Institute
RealtyTrust Residential, LLC
Those are great areas. I have included a link below to show you all the current homes for sale.
Mill Run (these are both actually under contract) http://listings.realtracs.com/Reports/EmailPublicReports.asp
There is a house on Bending Creek Dr that is also under contract. The average days on market in there has been around 70 days (which includes 30days to close). That's not bad at all! They sell quickly.
My real estate agent has never called me to tell me about a home, and I have been doing all the searching online (and driving neighborhoods) and then i'll email and ask to see the house - i've seen 2 houses so far. The mortgage company said i am "well qualified", but I have asked for the amount that i was pre-qualified for, and they said they would send it over to my agent-and that's where it stopped. I haven't heard from my agent for about 2-3 weeks. It's a pretty popluar firm and advertises on radio often and is highly recommended. It's possible he isn't in full contact because I did tell him that my "ideal" closing date would be the end of July, but if I find the perfect house before then, i'll try to find a way to make it work. I just wasn't sure what to expect, but it sounds like if I haven't heard from them in 2-3 weeks that's not normal. The neighborhoods I am looking for are betwen Nolensville Rd, Bell Rd and 24... My perfect ideal neighborhood is Mill Run on Bending Creek Dr - I get a really good vibe from that neighborhood.
I never like to say what a real estate agent "should" do, because each one is different. I can only tell you how I do things. I am very much in contact with my buyers, usually on a daily basis if they are currently looking at homes. If you already have an offer in, then there is a period of time after the home inspection and before the closing where we might go two or three days without communicating. With a first time buyer I try to be a bit more pro-active than that because buying a home is such an emotional roller coaster! I find there is a lot of support wanted and needed since it IS the first home purchase. Definitely purchase a home through someone you like, trust and who is grateful for you as a client.
I did a series of blog posts a while back on the first time home buyer. I will put a link to that in the web reference section. Keep in mind that it was written back when there was a first time home buyer tax credit - that is no longer the case.
Hope that helps!
Most experienced agents would be more than happy to work with a buyer at ANY price point so long as they know the buyer is committed to the process. Make sure you voice your concerns, it could just be simple miscommunication.
The web is a great resource for research. Feel free the check out mine below.
You are asking some great questions. But the fact that you are asking them says your agent may not be educating you on the process. You need to talk with a lender about how much you can afford. There is, or may be, a difference in what they say you can afford, and what you are willing to pay. If you haven't talked with a local lender about getting a mortgage, that should be your next step.
A Buyer's Agent usually does get paid by the Listing agent, who has negotiated a commission with the seller and is willing to share the commission with a Buyer's Agent. If you feel like your agent isn't doing much to help you you have some options. You can begin by talking with your Realtor. Maybe they feel the relationship isn't working either and they would be glad to let you find another agent. Have you signed a Buyer's Representation Agreement with them? If you have, that is a contract and you will need to talk with them or a lawyer about getting out of it. If you feel you aren't getting what you need from the agent, you can call the Principle Broker of their firm. They can help you understand and either improve things with the current agent, or maybe get you another agent. Your agreement, if you have signed it, is actually with the Brokerage firm.
There are many good agents will be glad to help you find a home in the $150K price range. But there are agents for whom it is not their focus. Open conversation would be my suggestion. And if necessary, a call to the Principle Broker of their firm.
I hope you can work through this and end up with a fun experience.
As far as what you can afford, lenders will have you approved for up to a certain amount but I really like Dave Ramsey's still of buying. His suggestion is up to 4x the amount of your take home pay. If you take home $50k a year then try to stay under $200k. $150k would be even more comfortable!
Some agents don't care too much for smaller listings. I love working with first time home buyers. In fact, if you get some time check out my recommendations. Most of them are first time home buyers.
I think educating the buyer is important. If you have a certain area that you are interested in (like Cane Ridge Farms) then I think it's important to know your numbers. You need to know what is selling out there and whether or not you are paying fair market value. I also like setting my buyers up on an auto-notification which will alert them the same day a new listing hits the market! This keeps you from doing all the guess work. I would ask your agent to do that for you.
If there is anything I can help you with please let me know!
Keller Williams Realty