There are many decisions to make when you become engaged. In addition to wedding planning, there are also a variety of things to discuss such as where to spend holidays, how to juggle careers as a married couple, and where to live. While some couples begin their marriage in an apartment or rental home, others choose to purchase their first home together just prior to or soon after they tie the knot.
Whether you’re newly engaged or have been married for years, the decision to buy a home is exciting! Many first time home buyers are unsure when the right time is to purchase or how to go about the process to their advantage. I recently interviewed Rebecca Fritschie with Realty Executives and asked her questions related to buying a first home. We’re excited to share with you some insider tips.
Cheryl: Hi Rebecca! Thank you for being willing to answer some questions to guide home buyers, particularly those purchasing their first home.
Rebecca: I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. In addition to being a realtor, I’m also considering purchasing my first home, and I understand the buyer’s side as well as the realtor’s side.
Cheryl: What are the advantages of owning a home?
Rebecca: There are many advantages to owning your home. One is that you get to make it your own with your own personal touch. It’s a place to make memories. It provides peace of mind, and you have no renter hassles. You can also build equity, so buying a home, if done right, is an investment. You aren’t spending money on living space that you’ll never get back since you can choose to sell at some point. If done wisely, you can make money by fixing up your home and selling it to upgrade.
Cheryl: Are there any disadvantages to owning a home?
Rebecca: Owning a home is a responsibility. You have to make sure you are ready financially and have the time and/or finances for maintaining your home and yard. Some people travel with their jobs, and don’t want to be the one who handles getting a professional out or having to pay for repairs or replacement items. Even though they don’t get any money back from what they pay in rent, their lifestyle is better suited towards renting.
Cheryl: Is there anything first time home buyers should avoid when buying a home?
Rebecca: Until they make a definite decision to buy, they should avoid Open Houses. Often people go to an Open House just to get ideas, but the homes are way above their budget. Then when they look at homes in their price range they are disappointed. The realtors at Open Houses are working for the seller and have their client’s best interest in mind. They won’t be working on your behalf. It’s better to go to Open Houses with your realtor who will match your needs with your budget and can be an intermediary with the other agents for your protection.
Cheryl: What should buyers do to get the most for their money?
Rebecca: They should hire a good realtor. Many people don’t realize that buyers don’t pay realtors-the sellers do. Using a realtor to buy is free. Good realtors can help you decide when it is a good time for you to purchase, do preliminary leg work, and have tools to help you qualify. They will guide you as to how much to put down, connect you with credible lenders and title companies, and set up your credit for success in buying a home and for the future. They know things that can help increase your credit score.
Cheryl: if you aren’t happy with a realtor you’ve begun working with, what should you do?
Rebecca: Let them know you don’t feel like they are the right realtor for you and find someone else. Buying a home is a major life decision and financial decision. People should have a realtor they can trust, who will work hard for them, who is passionate about what they do, is honest, and will spend hours pulling up comps, statistics, etc based on their client’s vision. A good realtor will know the good neighborhoods, schools, and issues with certain homes and areas. They will research the going price/square footage to make sure you are getting a fair price. They need to be available, accountable, and work with your schedule.
Cheryl: What advice would you give first time home buyers?
Rebecca: When you decide you want to purchase a home, take a step back. Be honest-is this really the right move for you at this time? Is your job stable? Do you have money saved for a down payment, inspections, appraisals, closing, and the unexpected? Is this the right financial decision? Are you ready to take on the responsibilities of being a home owner?
If they are ready to move forward with buying, they should make a list of what they need in a home. Then make a list of what they want. Needs and wants are different. Realtors can usually find a home within a budget to meet needs and some of the wants, but clients should realize they may have to wait until their next home or two to get the majority of their wants. It’s important to not overextend your budget so you have a safety net or emergency fund left in savings.
Don’t make rash decisions based on emotions. Look at the logistics. Also, don’t buy based on other’s opinions. Know what you need, get what you need, and be smart about it.
Cheryl: Thank you, Rebecca for allowing us to interview you. You have some great suggestions and we appreciate your expertise.
Rebecca: It’s my pleasure!