First Time Homebuyer Blog Series
You’ve been spending your down time looking at your Realtor, Zillow apps and websites alike, trying to find the perfect home. HGTV has become a regular in your home, to the point where you feel the likes of Chip and Joanna Gaines are a part of the family. You’ve ACTUALLY Googled how to get on shows like House Hunters and Property Brothers. Getting warmer? There is no need to be embarrassed, we’ve all either been there before or are right there with you. Some of us just won’t admit it.
Buying a home is a BIG deal! Something that many have never experienced before, regardless of age. For most people, it’s the biggest investment you’ll ever make, so you will be smart to make calculated decisions as you go through the purchasing process.
My wife and I have purchased and sold our first home, and then purchased again all within the last calendar year. Not by design, but changes in our careers moved us across the country. Something we did not anticipate when we bought our first home, but your events in your life can change any previous plans you had. There are many questions you should have when you are buying your home. When it is your first time, there’s a lot that you don’t know, and might be afraid to ask. My goal in this series is not only to give information and insight, but to help you relish the amazing feelings of buying your first home!
USE THE INTERNET FOR RESEARCH, NOT FOR PURCHASE.
For many first time home buyers, especially ones who are either recent college graduates or under 30, you understand the power of the internet, and how much you can get done using your smartphone. If you’ve started your researching already, or are about to get started, many of the apps and websites you will use to search for a home will have ads that offer pre-approvals for mortgages offering record-low rates. Don’t take the bait, those are just advertisements. You’ll get there soon enough, don’t worry. You must practice PATIENCE throughout this process.
There are three very important people you will need to lean on during the home buying process. In my opinion, this cannot be done successfully without their participation. Remember, I said SUCCESSFULLY. Could this be done without some of their involvement? Sure, I guess. But these three have a wealth of knowledge and are in place to help you. You will need a Realtor, a Lender and an Insurance Agent to buy a home.
This is your dream team. They are the pros that help you close. They all will work together and communicate during this process to get you the perfect home with the best finance rate, lowest payment and the best protection for that home.
You will be meeting these people and talking with them multiple times either on the phone, in person or both. They will be working for you, so there is no reason to be nervous to talk to them. They are here to help you. Ask them questions!! There is no such thing as a dumb one either. Think about this: a Realtor sells homes for a living, but at one time they were you, a first-time home buyer.
This is when you use the internet to your advantage. DO. YOUR. RESEARCH. Home buying websites and apps have reviews of Realtors and Lenders in your area. Read their bio’s, visit their webpages and read their reviews. Talk to your friends that have purchased homes recently and ask them who they used. These agents and lenders work off of referrals, and rely on them to be successful. You want to feel comfortable with who you’re working with, not just forced into a relationship. Ever had that happen before? Didn’t last too long or end real well did it?
Your Insurance Dream Team
Your Insurance Agent is a very important member of this group who at times can get overlooked during this process. Now that you are going to be a homeowner, the days of buying insurance from a TV cartoon character or 1-800 call center are over. In order for you to get a loan for your home, you have to obtain Homeowners insurance coverage to protect against losses to the home, or known in insurance as a dwelling. There are a number of carriers that offer Homeowners insurance, but many recommend you look into where you have your auto insurance because of the discounts associated with having both Home and Auto insurance combined.
I will tell you that you need to look at multiple options, as coverage differs from one carrier to the next. Each one will have a homeowners product, but they ARE NOT the same! Just like you can get a Pepperoni pizza at Pizza Hut, Dominos and Papa Johns, the only thing these three have in common is what they’re called. The meat, cheese, sauce and crust are all different. The same goes for your insurance policy. They each cover against different hazards, replace materials and property at different values, and can apply different deductibles for different kinds of claims. Independent agents, like me, can provide multiple proposals from various companies so you can chose the one that is best for you.
Remember, do your research! Do it early, and often. It doesn’t cost you anything to talk to more than one Realtor, Lender and Insurance Agent. Use the tools you have at your fingertips to check out these people. Call them and talk to them. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. Everyone has their personal preference when it comes to dealing with people, so be prepared for different opinions, but remember to value each one of them. Just because you might not agree with someone does not mean that you can’t take value from what they have to say.
Until next time, Happy House Hunting!