For most, buying a home is a planned event. “Next year, we’re going to move up” or “After baby number X is born, we’re going to get a bigger home,” the list goes on.
The problem is, many don’t start to learn the market, until they’re in it; leaving the possibility that early opportunities may be missed. As Dian Hymer illustrates, many homeowners regret not jumping on early opportunities they find in their house hunt. This problem can easily be avoided, and with the aid of a good, communiative Realtor, is quite painless.
Everyone’s heard the statistics about online buyers. Over 80% of all home buyers start their search online. Heck – most online buyers spend HOURS scouring the web for morsels of information ont heir properties, leveraging free tools such as Zillow, Trulia, and public records searches to increase their knowledge on the properties. A widely overlooked statistics is that most online home buyers start looking six to nine months before buying a home.
Not only is the online buyer thirsty for information, but they are savvy on the market; best fo all… they know a good deal when they see one.
In my experience, this level of “savvyness” is most commonly seen in a move up buyer… someone familiar with the process, who has gone through the purchase process before and most of all – knows what they want.
“But Brandon, what can first time buyers learn from move up buyers?”
1. Get pre-approved. Find out what you can afford and what needs to be fixed on your credit. Knowing six to nine months early will help your cause immensely.
2. Start talking to agents [If you live in the Inland Northwest, that would be me…]. Conduct a formal interview of your needs – you may not know exactly, and that’s okay… it’s just a starting point. Your taste and needs will evolve as you learn what you can afford and learn what amenities are important to you… afterall, by definition, a first time home buyer has never owned a home before – how would you know what you want?
3. Look at properties in your price range and that match your criteria, document what you like and don’t like… then… Tell your agent. Your agent [should] gave a pulse on the market, watching new properties come on and can help you locate properties you may not have considered.
4. Be diligent. Just because you’ve exhausted the available inventory doesn’t mean your dream home won’t get listed tomorrow on the HotSheet, but also:
5. Be prepared to compromise… you can’t always have your cake and eat it too… with a good agent, you can come close.
If you do nothing else, start early and be patient. When you’re in the market to buy you won’t pass up a deal of a lifetime because you fear you’ve not been looking long enough to make a decision.