First Hand, First Time Home Buyers Advice

Being a first time home buyer is a one of a kind experience. Endless searching on the internet, driving around neighborhoods, and dreaming of your new place all lead up to the excitement of getting your first set of keys. It’s easy to get caught up in the fairy tale of finding that perfect house though… the one with the luxurious bathtub in the master bathroom AND the granite kitchen countertops. In reality, you most likely won’t find everything you’re looking for with the budget most first homebuyers have, but with the right realtor you can find a home that’s close enough. I’ve been going through this experience first-hand with a close friend looking for his first house. Here’s what we’ve learned in the process.

Updated Kitchen
Updated home that was recently sold by Eileen Carroll to a first time homebuyer.

Before you start, it’s important to sit down and write out what you want in your new house and neighborhood. Do you want to be close to your favorite restaurant or do you want to be in a great school zone? Do you need a big backyard for your pup? What about number of bedrooms? Write a list of your “must haves” before you go house-hunting. Every house is most likely going to have one or two things that you don’t love, but if it’s not one of your “must-haves”…then you may just have to work with it. This is something my friend has learned… high expectations are great, but can lead to disappointment. Also, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved before you start looking. This way, you will know what your price range is and what exactly you can afford. It’ll also be helpful when you make that first offer, because sellers will know your offer is legitimate and you can have an advantage over other buyers.

Now, you have to find a great realtor! This is perhaps one of the most important steps, because finding a good one means potentially discovering an under-valued property or houses that are hidden gems that you didn’t know were on the market. A realtor can also take your list of “must-haves” and find a house that fits those needs and your budget.  My friend picked a realtor that was listing one of the houses he liked and had everything he wanted, but when he decided he didn’t like the area… he figured out she could no longer help him. So make sure you know what neighborhoods the realtor has expertise in before you meet them. They may not be familiar with the part of town you want to live in. We have great resources here at Capital City Sotheby’s International Realty to match you with the best realtor for your scenario: individual agent profiles to view on our website, an outstanding sales manager who will listen and then recommend the appropriate agent and realtors who specialize in different markets and neighborhoods.

Just listed by Dana Twombly. A perfect starter home in the Arroyo Secco area of Austin.
Just listed by Dana Twombly. A perfect starter home in the Arroyo Secco area of Austin.

There are endless benefits to utilizing a knowledgable agent. Realtors will help with negotiations, making an offer, getting a loan and making certain there are not  structural issues with the house. Can you imagine the nightmare of buying that “dream home” all to figure  out it has a crack in the foundation? An astute realtor will help you navigate fix-it issues, as well as help ease the stress of the paperwork side of buying since they know the process and  legal ramifications of the contract. Also, when you do find a house, don’t be afraid to ask for the sellers to  repair a few things you aren’t happy with. This is just one more item a realtor can help with! Our company  has exceptional agents to assist you in this process.

So what I’ve learned through watching a friend search for his first home is to prepare, prepare, and  prepare! Do your homework before you start and the process will be a LOT less stressful and time-  consuming. Your first home will probably be your biggest purchase yet, so you want to be pleased with  what you end up with. With the right help, your experience can be fun and very rewarding in the end.  Happy house hunting!!!To reach Sandy Roy, Sales Manager for the Galleria and Barton Creek offices of Capital City Sotheby’s International Realty in Austin, please call 512.261.0008 or 512.328.0058.

Written by: Charlotte English, Sales Administrator Galleria Office

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