We have all heard the saying "You never truly know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes." or a saying with the similar meaning. I can now proudly say that I have walked a mile in the shoes of first time home buyers.
Just in the beginning stages of my career in real estate I have been involved with a limited number of deals, but from a Realtors point of view I typically know what to expect and I have instilled the majority of my business practices. Because of this I found it quite difficult to look at properties through the eyes of a buyer and get the same "feeling" or thoughts that a normal buyer would have. For example, when I walked into a property that we were viewing the first things I noticed were the features of the property (ie: Flooring, exposure, # bedrooms & # bathrooms, square footage, etc.) I was not looking at the property in the eyes of a buyer, who are typically noticing paint colour, where they would put their furniture, finishes, etc.
After seriously viewing approximately 15-20 properties, writing several offers on different properties and having a deal fall through because the bank would not finance the property, my girlfriend and I finally found a place and will be taking possession in about 2 months time. I can truely say that I have had the full experience of a first time buyer and I am looking forward to helping clients, friends, and family through the experience.
Here are some things that I think any first time buyer should be aware of:
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you even begin seriously looking at properties and know your budget.
- Try not to look at properties that are way outside of your budget, as you will likely see features that you like, but will not be available in your price range. Although, if your max budget is $400,000, I would recommend setting your search to include properties that are under $410,000 because there may be room for negotiation or the property may be priced too high.
- Be prepared to comprimise. Know what things are a "must have" and what things you could live without because there is no perfect property, no matter your budget.
- Know that every deal is different and unique, just as every piece of real estate is. For example, some Sellers or Listing Realtors may get back to you right away, some may take a day or two. Learn to adapt.
- Do not be afraid to put in an offer. Getting an accepted offer is only half of the battle, removing subjects, completion, and possession are the other half.
- Go and physically see the property.