Home Buying in 43614>Question Details

Dan Brainard, Home Buyer in 43609

First time buyer, Would like some advice on the buying process.

Asked by Dan Brainard, 43609 Tue Apr 22, 2008

I am just starting this process for the first time and do not really know what order to do things in. What are the most important factors to consider in selecting a condo. Age, sq footage, bedrooms, location? Also any advice on how to go about finding an agent to help with the buying process would be great.

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You are already doing a great job by asking these questions first! By going online to sites such as homegain.com you will entice realtors in your area to compete for your business. Another avenue to persue would be to visit sites such as realtor.com, coldwellbanker.com, etc. and review agent's profiles in your area as well as to get recommendations from friends and relatives. Interview several realtors - you are hiring them to work for you - and then chose to work the one with whom you feel most confident! You and your agent will speak so as to ascertain those factors that are most important to your current and anticipated lifestyle. These will include a price range, # bedrooms, location (proximity to transportation, shopping, schools, etc.), monthly charges for the common areas, amenities such as gym, pool, tennis, etc. Your agent will also be able to recommend reputable mortgage brokers and bankers that specialize in condo financing so that you will be able to obtain your "pre-approval". This will allow you to be a buyer that is taken seriously when you find the condo you are interested in. All of these processes sound overwhelming, however, once you have trust and confidence in your realtor, you will find that that he or she will guide you through these various activities in a stressfree and very orderly fashion! Please contact me if you would like additional information and the very best of luck to you in finding your new home!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Dan!

The first thing you want to do when looking for a home is go to a bank or mortgage lender and get pre-approved. Realtors stress getting pre-approved first because the market is picking up very fast and we do not want you to fall in love with a house and not be able to get it because someone else, who was pre-approved, put in an offer before you. Also, it is best to get pre-approved before you start looking at homes so you have more of an idea of a price range you will buy in. Important factors for considering a condo would be to read over the bi-laws a condo has. Every condo association has bi-laws and those are the rules you have to follow every day. So before you move into a condo, look through the bi-laws and make sure you are comfortable with those. When looking for an agent to represent you buying a home, I would go to their personal website and look at their reviews. Some agents have reviews on other websites (Zillow, Trulia), but if they do not, that does not mean they are a "bad" agent to work with. If there is anything I can do to help please let me know!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 20, 2013

Here is some additional information for you regarding purchasing a condo in the Toledo area. You will want to have your agent find out what the owner-to-investor ratio is. If it is less than 70% owner-occupied, then you will need 20% down payment. Also, within the last week or so, PMI (private mortgage insurance ) is no longer available on condos, so you will need 5% down, regardless of owner occupancy. Make sure your agent finds out who the president and treasurer of the condo association is, as they are the ones who will help you to get the occupancy information, etc.

It sounds a little overwhelming, but it really isn't. It's just there is a right way and a wrong way to buy a condo these days. Hope this helps. Give me a yell if you need anything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Good Morning Dan,
Being a 1st time buyer can be exciting or scary.....depends on how you start. In an effort to make this a positive experiance, I suggest you contact your local bank and start the prequalifing process. This will set the stage for what purchase price you are comfortable with and you will also have the peace of mind knowing you can buy. Next, shop for a Real Estate Broker which has great communication skills. Ask them about the amount of sales volume for 2007....this will give you some insite. Give your Broker a range of information as to what you are looking for and remember...."see the Condo Documents" before you make up your mind. I wish you the best of Luck with your adventure!
Web Reference: http://nwfloridarealtor.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Dan! Your very first step to homeownership is getting that loan pre-approval... your next step, finding that real estate professional! You can go to http://www.realtor.com and put in your zip code for a list of agents specializing in your area. Good luck and happy househunting!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008

Buying your first home will overwhelm you with different emotions to include excitement, pride, fear and even confusion. One of the important things that you have to do is find an agent that will explain each step of this home buying process in terms that you understand and make sure that you have confidence in your agent. Most all real estate offices offer Home Buyer's counseling sessions in which they explain the steps, agency, and relationships that are available to you as the buyer and are usually FREE. Also during this process the agent should briefly go over the different types of financing that may be available to you and suggest at least three lenders for you to go and visit to get you pre-qualified for a home that is affordable for you. If you have already been pre-qualified, ask your lender to suggest some agents to you. Though there are different requirements for each states, as a buyer, the broker/agent usually seeks compensation from the transaction (meaning the seller agrees to pay the compensation to both the listing agent and the selling agent) if this is the case it should be stated in the MLS. I would also advise you to find a REALTOR that is a member of the National Association of REALTORS. This will give you the peace of mind of knowing that we are upheld to a Code of Ethics. As previously stated, different laws and policies are in place for each state, but I would strongly advise you to get your home inspections, surveys, etc... done for your protection. It may cost you a little up front, but may save you huge in the end. I wish you Happy Home Hunting!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Asking this question was the perfect first step. Searching websites such as Trulia, Zillow, and Homegain can provide you with some great Realtors. My suggestion is to Interview 5 from same / different companies to see what they can offer you. Each should have a qualified Mortgage Lender they work with to help get you pre-approved for the lending process which is the next step. Interviewing a variety of Realtors will help you find the person you can trust and feel most comfortable with. Just like a job interview you are hiring them like an employee to fufill the job requirements of finding you a condo. That Realtor will help you with all the answers buying a condo takes, such as association fees, common area uses, parking, etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Dan,

You look to be a Toledo area buyer, so how coincidental I've just found your question in my email. I've just walked out of a meeting where a lender was discussing recent issues with buyers getting loans for condos in the Toledo area. Because of declining market issues lenders are now putting all sorts of stipulations on these condo loans.

I very much agree with all of the above answers. It is most important first of all to find a realtor you are comfortable with and who is knowledgeable with what is currently going on in this challenging market. Your realtor will guide you in choosing a reputable lender and working with you to find properties that meet your needs and price range. After you find a property, your real estate agent with then help you make a decision as to your offer, guide you through the inspection and title process, and then, SMILE with you at the closing! Please feel free to contact me for additional advice if you wish!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Your first step will be to find ar real estate professional you trust. It's a good idea to ask friends for recommendations, especially those who are homeowners. Next step is to ask your real estate professional to recommend a good lender who has great experience working with first-time buyers, and especially FHA.. You will need a "pre-approval letter" from the lender before you can write a contract, and it will also help you narrow down a price range. Ask your Realtor about neighborhoods you have seen, and ask for the Realtor's advice about good areas. Your experienced Realtor will know where to lead you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Dan -
Truly the first step should be in selecting a realtor to help you in your market. I find that most first time buyers are unaware that it usually doesn't cost the buyer to work with a realtor (please verify this in your area), and the benefits in having a knowledgeable professional working for you are tremendous. The second step should be locating a reliable, affordable, and reputable lender. Your professional should be able to assist you with this.

In general, in selecting a condo, you will want to consider the factors that you mention above, but there are some additional questions you should ask -- such as condo fees for maintaining exteriors of the condos and the common areas. Do they have a pool, club house, etc. What are the requirements for the association, such as can you enclose a back patio, etc. These are all factors to consider. However, don't be overwhelmed, a good real estate professional will walk you through all these considerations and you will feel more in control of the overall process. Best wishes for finding a great home!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Dear Dan,
Your first step is to find a good agent. Ask your friends, neighbors, or aquaintances for a referral. Almost, 80% of my business is from repeat and referral clients. Once you have a few names make contact with the agents and see who you are comfortable with.
Then ask the agent for referrals to reputable lenders. You will need to be "prequalified" so that you know what price range you can afford and that you need to look in. Have the lender give you a letter stating what you are approved for. You will need that to submit an offer for most properties.
Finally, the MOST important criteria for purchasing any real estate is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Most buyers find a balance between the best location they can afford and their other needs like, size, bedrooms, etc. If you buy a condo "in the city" you will certainly have "less square footage" than one in the suburbs but, you will not have the "commute". These are choices a good agent can help you make.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Go get pre-Approved First! The Shopping will be fun! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
The first step in buying real estate is to contact a mortgage banker or mortgage broker to determine how much you can afford to pay for the home or condo. This pre-qualification process only takes a few minutes and can usually be done over the phone. If you aren't familiar with any lenders, ask a friend or co-worker who they used.

The second step is to find a realtor. You should ask friends, relatives or co-workers who they would recommend or you can go to this website, realtor.com, or the website of a local real estate broker in your area to look at profiles of realtors who know the areas you may be interested in looking for real estate.

The third step is to contact this agent and set up an appointment to meet to discuss the type and price range of properties you would like to preview. Once this is done, the agent can set up the appointments and help you preview any properties that are in the price range and areas that suit your lifestyle.

The agent will guide you thru the purchase process, home inspection process and the closing process.

Good Luck and remember one important real estate phrase, "location, location, location". This will be important for re-sale of your property in the future.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Dan
Congratulations. great time to buy,Just go to to www. realtor.com search under the zip code you are interested in and call an active experienced realtor who can go over the entire process and wlk you thru it.
Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
The first thing you will need to do is to talk to a lender to get a loan pre-approval. Once you have that in hand then you can start looking. To search for a Realtor in the area, let me suggest you search the REBAC webstie for a buyer's representative who is in your area. They are trained to represent buyers and to give them impressionable service. My website has a list of "Ten Steps To Buy a Home" that will give you an idea of what to expect in the process. Good Luck!
Web Reference: http://www.borohomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Location is clearly going to be a very important aspect when purchasing any piece of real estate. However, in NYC you need to be aware of the closing costs involved, especially if you're looking at new development condo's. Also look at price/sqft for comparison purposes but be aware of the square footage and the fact that everyone calculates square feet a little bit differently. You can refer to our buyers guide on our website at http://www.jhliving.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
First of all check with friends and family. Find out if anyone has worked with an agent they trust and whose opinion you trust and start from there. Next seek out the areas with condos you'd like to be in and start looking. Location is key, but you also want to make sure that the project is a strong one, meaning... it isn't too far in the red with owners not paying their dues, complex has a lot of foreclosures, or a lot of the units are renter occupied versus owner occupied. Also be sure to ask if there have been major assessments owed or recently paid out by owners. All of these questions will enable you to choose a community that is a good investment for you.
Web Reference: http://www.lizindetroit.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Dan,
Congratulations! Buying your first home is a major accomplishment and should be a good experience. My number one goal is to help buyers through the process of purchasing a home alon with having a wonderful experience. First, it is a good idea to select a realtor that has the ABR certification which means Accredited Buyer Representative. With having that certification it will better prepare a realtor to assist you in the home buying process. Also, you should get pre-approved with a reputable lender. I have many contacts that I work with. Then, you should sit down with a realtor to discuss the many steps in getting you into your first home.
If you have any questions or would like more information please give me a call at 330-760-0697.
Teresa Fiorentino
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Get you a Real Estate agent, who will guide you around the pitfalls of buying real estate. Here in Georgia, you don't pay (the seller pays commission). So it's good to have someone who is looking out for your best interests and can give you the advise you are looking for. It varys from one market to another.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
Hi Dan,

The first step should be to contact a lending institution to find out your budget(what you qualify for)
In purchasing a condo location should be first. For re sale bedrooms and floor plan comes next. As far as finding a good agent to help you ask your friends that are homeowners. You can also go on Realtor.com or this website and look. Although, your friends can direct you to the agent who helped them OR tell you who not to go too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
In Florida there are some fist time buyer programs such as SHIPP which is a state supported program and help many first time buyers. You can contact the housing depatment of Citrus County to get additional details.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 22, 2008
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