Thinking about buying a home soon? Keep these 4 tips in mind.

It’s hard to believe that 2023 is winding down. Of course, we’ve got plenty to celebrate between now and Jan. 1. However, if you’re thinking about buying a home in 2024, it’s time to start planning. This blog isn’t meant to scare you – our teams love working with first-time homebuyers. We appreciate all our customers, but there’s something special about helping people achieve their homeownership goals for the first time.

That said, it’s been an interesting market for this demographic in the last couple of years. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list that all buyers – but especially those going through the process for the first time – should know.

Find a buyer’s agent. We wrote an entire blog on this topic earlier this year when it was discovered that many prospective homebuyers didn’t understand the role of a buyer’s agent. However, it’s worth repeating. Buyers benefit from working with a REALTOR®, especially if it’s their first time. Good buyer’s agents do more than attend showings with you. They handle negotiations and communication with the seller and are true advocates for you. Plus, their commission is covered by the seller once your transaction is finalized.

Make sure you get pre-approved. While real estate lovers may search Zillow constantly for fun, securing mortgage pre-approval is important when you’re truly ready to buy a home. It can be a complicated process, especially for first-time buyers, so it’s important to do everything possible to get your finances in order. It’s also 100% OK to talk to more than one lender – and see which one works best for you.

Don’t wait for that unicorn. We love to make people’s homeownership dreams come true. That said, during a home search, especially in today’s market, those dreams will change. Focusing too much on perfection can narrow your choices and cause you to pass over good, suitable options. Instead, keep an open mind about what’s on the market and be willing to put in some sweat equity.

Be on the lookout for fraud. Simply put, first-time homebuyers are especially susceptible to fraud. If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you know we often talk about real estate scammers. It’s not the most positive topic, but it’s very important. In this article from the National Association of REALTORS®, Diane Tomb, the CEO of the American Land Title Association, reminds everyone in real estate to be extra-diligent when working with this demographic, and we’re sharing that warning with you.

Consider Tomb’s words on the subject and never be afraid to ask questions about the closing process or raise suspicions if something ever seems off. “First-time home buyers, who are not as familiar with the nuances of the closing process, are often the most vulnerable to scams because they don’t know what to look out for,” she said in the article. “Even though many are digitally savvy, cybercriminals have become more sophisticated over the last decade and are willing to wait for weeks or even months to strike.”  

No matter when you’re ready to buy your first – or next – home, we hope this advice is helpful to you or anyone you think could use it. Of course, if you’re looking for more tips, check out this list or reach out to your nearest branch. Our teams are always here to lead your transaction to the finish line. 

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