Nashvillegir…, Home Buyer in Nashville, TN

First Time Home Buyer

Asked by Nashvillegirl77, Nashville, TN Wed May 30, 2012

I'm a first time home buyer, female in my 30's. I have no debt, and make about $50K a year...how much house should I be looking at buying? I'm single but am hoping to have a family someday, so I want something i can grow into.

Also i'm assuming my realtor splits the commission with the selling agent, is that correct? My realtor hasn't been very active, so maybe a $150K sale isn't worth the trouble because he has bigger fish to fry? Shouldnj't they be checking in with me? Just seems weird that i haven't been informed very well in this process and it's frustrating.

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Liz Sikora, ’s answer
First Time Home Buyer,

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!

Thank you,

Liz Sikora,
Accredited Buyers Representative
Graduate Realtor Institute
LizSikoraRealtor@gmail.com
615-594-8526

RealtyTrust Residential, LLC
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 31, 2012
Regardless of your time, he should respond to you with any questions you have within 24 hours. This is especially if you are interested in a home. The way the market has been over the past 6 months, the chances of someone else liking the same house is much greater. You sort of need to be able to get in and see it right away!
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.
Stephen Strickhausen
SStrickhausen@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 31, 2012
Thanks for all the quick responses! What is HDA financing and downpayment assistance?? I'll have about $14,000 for a downpayment at the end of June and $1500 each month after that. I was hoping to put in an offer and ask the seller to pay the closing costs when it comes to that time. My ideal closing date is the end of July but i'm not in a huge hurry as i can go month to month on my lease in August.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 31, 2012
Congrats on your new venture in hoame ownership! You are on the right trtack with the price but it's probably best to ask your lender about how much you are approved for, and not only that, but how much payments are per month. Right now with rates being so low you can get a great house for your money. Its also a shame that you feel like your agent isnt being active because of your price range. This is a huge decision for you and your family so I would suggest talking to them and letting them know how you feel before you take further action. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 31, 2012
I agree that 3x the income is the average, but definitely check with your preferred lender and ask them for a Good Faith Estimate, which will spell out all of your costs, both for the closing and for the monthly payment amount.

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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 30, 2012
National stats say that the average first time buyer spends about 3x their annual income so 150k seems right on target. But be sure to talk with your lender to determine if the full payment is within your comfort level.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 30, 2012
The best way to answer that question since you have no debt is what payment are you comfortable with given your overall financial goals (i.e. how much you want to be able to set aside for retirement and other future financial goals.). $150k purchase price is certainly doable with that income and no debt. Are you planning on using THDA financing and downpayment assistance? How much do you plan on putting down? There are plenty of listing under $150k. If your realtor hasn't been showing you properties it may be because he/she is very busy, or your schedules just don't mesh, or maybe he/she doesn't see you as a serious buyer. I work with a lot of first time homebuyers as well as realtors who work with First Time Home buyers. If you need a referral don't hesitate to call or email me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 30, 2012
Hi Nashvillegirl77,

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 30, 2012
It sounds like you have all your ducks in a row!
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!
Stephen Strickhausen
Benchmark Realty
sstrickhausen@gmail.com
http://www.sstrickhausen.com
615-480-5770
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 30, 2012
I would suggest getting pre-approved to find out exactly how much house you can afford. You can call any major bank or mortgage company most will do this for free. Brad Poe at primary residential would be happy to hear from you (615) 319-6194. Let you realtor know your displeasure and that you would like to hear from them more often.

Thanks,
Ronnie Hill
Keller Williams Realty
Office: 615-425-3600
Cell: 615-743-5600
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 30, 2012
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