Trulia, Other/Just Looking in San Francisco, CA

What are some tips for first-time home buyers?

Asked by Trulia, San Francisco, CA Sun Mar 4, 2012

Can you share some of your top advice or tips for home buyers?

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Michael Pall…, Agent, Brookline, MA
Sun Mar 4, 2012
I regularly teach a "Home Buying 101" Tutorial to folks interested in learning more about the whole process before taking their first steps. I regularly use these tips and hope they prove helpful to you as well:

1. Find a real estate agent with whom you connect. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you choose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home.

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go.

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take.

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased.

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.

If you'd like to learn more about how to be a savvy home buyer, please feel free to contact me through my website. http://(
3 votes
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Mon Mar 5, 2012
Here is one piece other agents haven't touched on yet ... Some of the benefits of buying a home:
Web Reference:
1 vote
Kevin Vitali, Agent, Tewksbury, MA
Mon Mar 5, 2012
Here are some bigger points that I think first time home buyers should pay attention to:

1- Get a good pre-approval up front, before ever looking at homes. There are many issues that can arise that can be flushed out with a good pre-approval.

2- Understand agency relationships. Understanding how an agent is working with you is vitally important. This also means taking the time to find a good buyer's agent.

3- Finding an exceptional home inspector. This is the last line of defense in making the most of your purchase. Don't price shop find the best inspector you can.

Don't be anxious, take the time and get educated and understand the process. Good professionals to help you are the key. Interview, get references and find a good agent, mortgage banker and home inspector.
1 vote
Kevin Vitali, Agent, Tewksbury, MA
Fri May 4, 2012
Heres a great blog site for Massachusetts First Time Home Buyers-

Some key points-
Understand your agency relationship. Is your agent working for you?
Learn how to use an agents 3rd party MLS and stop bouncing from site to site
Understand fair market value of a home
0 votes
Mary Condon, Agent, Boston, MA
Fri May 4, 2012
I agree with Irina. When you do find a great agent, review and sign a buyers agent contract so they represent your best interests.

Best Wishes and have FUN!
0 votes
Irina Karan, Agent, Aventura, FL
Fri Apr 20, 2012
Get pre-approved, find a great agent, read up on the buying process, ask lots of questions - there are no silly ones - listen to your gut feeling...and your realtor.

Irina Karan
Beachfront Realty, Inc.
CDPE - Certified Distressed Property Expert
0 votes
Ralph Lanzet…, Agent, Canton, MA
Wed Mar 28, 2012
Talk to a buyer's agent. Sit down with them BEFORE you get in the car and start looking at houses. You need to narrow down your "wants and need" to about three categories. Find out what you are pre-approved for financially. Sign a license disclosure form then a buyer's agent contract and hit the road to look at some homes.
0 votes
Kenzo Tatsuno, Agent, waltham, MA
Mon Mar 5, 2012
Hire a buyer agent. Sellers generally pay fees so definitely worth using a professional. Below is a recommendation that I received from first time buyers.

"From the moment we placed our first offer to the day we received our keys, Kenzo was there making sure everything was going smoothly... He made sure to communicate with us every step of the way, especially during the bidding and closing period which can wear on the nerves, but Kenzo kept us informed and calm during the entire process. We feel lucky to have found Kenzo, not just for our first home purchase, but for our future real estate needs. Thank you Kenzo, " Bill & Sheila


0 votes
Heidi Zizza, Agent, Framingham, MA
Mon Mar 5, 2012
0 votes
Gary Dwyer, Agent, Boston, MA
Sun Mar 4, 2012
Hire a buyer agent that focuses 100% of their time working with home buyers, one who has experience working with first-time buyers in your price category and a person that you are going to feel comfortable working with over the next 3-6 months. Having the right agent by your side will save you time, money and a lot of headaches.
0 votes
Kyle and Les…, Agent, Weston, MA
Sun Mar 4, 2012
You can download our free 17-page buyer guide here.
0 votes
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