Advice From the Pros for First-time Home Buyers

Advice From the Pros for First-time Home Buyers

Apr 26 2022

Advice From the Pros for First-time Home Buyers

Young family touring home

If you’re a first-time home buyer, the amount of information out there can be overwhelming, and the current climate of the real estate market can be stressful! We asked local loan officers, realtors, mortgage lenders, and some of our very own insurance agents here at Bearingstar some of their tips about the home buying process – especially in today’s market. Here is their experienced advice.

What advice would you give home buyers right now?

“My biggest piece of advice for homebuyers in this market is don’t get discouraged and keep emotions out of it. With the market being as crazy as it is, many buyers will put offers in on multiple homes before getting one accepted so it’s very important to not know that going in. Also, you want to work with a realtor that is well-versed on writing competitive offers and advising you on ways to stand out in multiple offer situations.”

-Megan Foggitt & Mikell Germond, Realtors, Margaret Bennett Realty

“Take pictures of all four sides of the house and send them to your insurance agent so that your agent can see the condition of the home and if there are any liability issues that stand out! It’s better to know in advance about the home, then to have a company inspect and send out a list of things that need to be fixed like missing handrails, peeling paint, or mossy roofs. Many times these issues can be corrected before closing by the seller.”

-Tanya Ballestrini, Insurance Consultant, Bearingstar Insurance

“Choose a local agent who is experienced and understands the purchasing process and alleviates any undue stress, [and] connect with an agent early in your buying process. They can help educate you on what questions to ask during your initial visits to your new home.”

-Jennifer Lajoie, Insurance Consultant, Bearingstar Insurance

What do you tell people just starting out?

“Be prepared to compromise. You may not get everything you want in a house, so decide what features are most important. Needs vs wants.”

-Veronica Lutzen, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Realty

“Know not to ‘fall in love’ with any one home; there are so many homes to choose from out there. You need to keep your options open to keep you from becoming heartbroken if you don’t get a particular home. You’ll get one, but you need to understand that before looking.”

-Michael Del Grosso, Senior Mortgage Banker, Total Mortgage

“I tell home buyers who are just starting out to focus on what’s most important to them. I tell them to not make exceptions with their needs just because of the competitive state of the market. Just because there are no single families available in their price range at the moment, doesn’t mean they should settle and buy a condo instead. Remember what’s important to YOU as a home buyer. Purchasing a property is a two-way transaction and it should be equally as beneficial to the buyer, as it is to the seller.”

-Amanda Claffey, Realtor, Eagle Eye Realty

What is the biggest misconception that people have about buying their first home?

“Many buyers think they need 20% or more for a down payment. They don’t. There are still programs with very little down, and if you’re a Veteran you can do a VA loan with no money down. Smaller down payments are common, and credit scores down to 580 are available in some cases. Obviously, the higher the FICO scores, the better the loan terms/payments.”

-Mark J. Mohamed, Loan Officer, Senior Executive Vice President, Drew Mortgage Associates, Inc.

“Currently, I would say the biggest misconception would be that buyers assume they would need to waive all inspections/contingencies in order for their offers to be accepted. This is more common nowadays, although there are still offers being accepted with multiple contingencies out there! Never feel pressured to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. You need a great realtor to communicate with the seller to ensure both parties are on the same page for a more attractive offer. Remember — nothing is impossible!”

-Amanda Claffey, Realtor, Eagle Eye Realty

What questions should first time buyers ask?

“First-time buyers should ask lots of questions: How much do I need down, what are the closing costs/escrows, can I get a gift for funds to close, what does my FICO score have to be, and [what are the] steps for buying a home? I do recommend you get pre-approved before going out to look at a home so you know exactly where you stand and what you qualify for. This is important and most real estate agents and sellers won’t usually show you homes without it. Sellers are seeing multiple offers and in some cases over listing prices, so they are being very careful on who they will accept and offer from. You want to be prepared and be ready so they know you are their best choice.”

Mark J. Mohamed, Loan Officer, Senior Executive Vice President, Drew Mortgage Associates, Inc.

“Ask lots of questions at your home inspection. Be sure to go your home inspection if you
can and use that time to learn as much as possible from the inspector about your house.
Every house is different, so the more knowledge you have about the mechanical systems
in your house the better off you will be.”

-Mike Ballestrini, The Mortgage Genie, Gateway Mortgage Services, LLC

What are some trends you’re seeing in home buying?

“Single-family housing inventory is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. Millennials looking to purchase a home and start a family has a huge impact on suburban growth. With more and more jobs offering employees the option to work remotely, people are leaving the cities and looking to the suburbs for more space to spread out.”

-Veronica Lutzen, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Realty

“As more and more real estate investment ideas, knowledge, and platforms are being available online, I see home buyers these days having thoughts of doing Airbnb, renting out half of their duplex, or similar types of ideas to supplement their mortgage costs. Multi-family homes are [also] extremely hot right now.”

-Henry Li, Realtor, Thread Real Estate

“We are seeing lots of first-time home buyers interested in buying multi-family homes.
Having a tenant rent the additional unit is a great way to keep their monthly expenses
down and gain experience in real estate investing.”

-Mike Ballestrini, The Mortgage Genie, Gateway Mortgage Services, LLC

Do you have questions about home insurance or need more advice as a first-time homebuyer? Contact us at Bearingstar Insurance today!

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