This week I had the opportunity to talk to a small group of first time homebuyers. In preparing, I asked social media, “What one piece of advice would you give a first-time homebuyer?”
The answers – from clients (recent and not), friends, and good real estate professionals – were outstanding. I’m grateful for their sharing. I thought about highlighting one or two or ranking them in order from best to not-quite-best, but each is the best piece in its own category.
How does one rank these? They’re all really important – and these aren’t even a third of the great advice offered.
– Buy below your means
– Profits are made when purchasing a house not selling
– ignore HGTV
– Pay attention to the things that really matter (layout, size, neighborhood, etc.); don’t focus on aesthetics like paint color and appliances that can be changed.
Have savings after you close; cash solves a lot of future problems
– Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you’re worried they’ll make you sound dumb.
There are a lot more after the break.
Some of the notes I used to prepare and speak: (naturally, in writing this post, I was able to find and references stories I’ve written over the past 9 years)
– When to start? I’d say to engage with a good Realtor and lender about 9-18 months before you’re aiming to close. Take time to learn the area, the market, your life patterns, growth and development patterns. Read all that you can.
– Rent first.
– Always visit the area around your house before you buy – at multiple times of day on multiple days.
– Questions a Realtor can’t answer (related: Big data and civil rights. Also:
– Questions to ask your prospective Buyers Agent (My advice: don’t hire a part-timer) Also: Why hiring family may be a bad idea.
– How to search for homes without a Realtor (in Charlottesville)
– Assembling the team. How your Realtor helps assemble the necessary A-Team.
– Work with a local lender. These are the two I tend to recommend the most.
– How to choose the right buyers agent (hint: it’s sort of like dating)
– I highly recommend reading RealCentralVA and, if you’re interested in Crozet, RealCrozetVA. But at the very least, please do subscribe to my monthly note, in which I summarize the best posts from the previous month, among other original stories. In fact, the quote I read during the talk from a buyer client was published in my monthly note.
And because I’m writing this post purely as advice from a real estate professional, my name is Jim Duncan. I’m a real estate agent. I’m a partner at Nest Realty in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Call or email me anytime with questions – even ones you think are dumb.