The key, unique factor regarding first-time homebuyers is that they face a steep learning curve. The ramifications of not asking the right questions of the right experts can be quite significant for them.
The overarching adage for a new buyer to operate under should be: You don’t know what you don’t know.” There could be surprises lurking in any number of areas, including buried oil tanks; limited ability to expand or renovate due to lot size; proximity to wetlands or flood-zone status; health issues, like radon gas; mortgage-rate locks, and much more.
The first-time buyer’s first critical decision is to pick an agent who has the fiduciary duty to act in the interest of the client. The Realtor will guide the buyer through the entire process and help them build a team of experts, including inspectors, a local real estate attorney, contractors, and others.
The buyer’s agent will scour the market and recommend select homes for the buyer to preview. They will also help value a home or homes, possibly even completing a full comparative market analysis (CMA).
One of the first critical tasks for a first-time buyer is getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan. The agent can help recommend mortgage brokers who can help fine-tune rates and fees as the buyer zeroes in on a home, and this will inform the buyer on how much the buyer can comfortably afford to carry. The buyer may also qualify for first-time homebuyer assistance programs, particularly for lower-priced homes in town.
A first-time buyer can get “up the curve” faster on all these issues with the help of many experts. Choosing the right Realtor – who can help put together the team – is an important first step in buying a first home.