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Essential Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Being a first-time home buyer can be intimidating. For some of us, this might be the biggest purchase we will ever make in our life. Buying your first home is an exhilarating milestone that brings with it a mix of emotions – excitement, nervousness, and even a touch of uncertainty. Your first question would be, where do I start?
I have been helping first-time home buyers this year and they receive advice from their friends and family about what they should do and what real estate agent they should work with. We have all been in their shoes. I started seeing a pattern of questions from all new homebuyers that made me think more and more every day about how I can provide them with the best service. My goal for each client is to find them their dream home or help them sell their current home.
In most cases, first-time home buyers are looking to buy because buying is better than renting. When you rent, you make your monthly payments and your money is gone forever, no write-offs, no appreciation in value, nothing. You can’t even make changes to your property without your landlord's permission.
My main reason for writing this blog is to reach as many new home buyers as possible so they are well-educated in their home-buying process. Friends and family can only advise you with the information they have, but this will touch upon information you could or could not be thinking of when buying your first home.

These top tips will help you navigate the real estate market with confidence so that you can find the perfect home for you.

Tip #1: Create a Budget and Stick to It

The first step in preparing to buy a home is creating a budget. Sit down and list all of your income and expenses, both fixed and variable. This will give you a good baseline to work from as you start looking at homes. Once you have your budget, be sure to stick to it! It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding your first home and overextend yourself financially. But remember, this is a long-term investment, so it’s important to be smart about it from the start.

Monthly budget planning to buy a home

Tip #2: Hire me as your Realtor

If you're looking to buy your first home, it's important to partner with a professional real estate agent. A good agent will help you navigate the often complicated and confusing world of real estate, and they can offer valuable insights and advice. They'll also be able to help you find the right property at the right price. So if you're serious about buying a home, be sure to hire me.

My job is to educate you at every step along the way. I will sit down and explain to you what happens when you are ready to put an offer on a house you like and how we will move forward with this up until the day of the closing. More people start becoming involved once an offer is expected and it can get overwhelming. But I am there for you every step of the way.

Every real estate deal I help with is more than just a transaction for me. I focus on building a rapport with you and understanding the needs of you and your family to find you the right house. I make sure my clients are well-educated in this process and I give my 100% effort. I communicate well with my clients, answer any questions that come up during the process, and make sure they know I am involved in every process. I would love to give you a buyer consultation packet and for you to interview me in person to see if I am qualified or not.

Real Estate showing a home to a family

Tip #3: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved will give you an idea of how much home you can afford and can also help you move quicker when you find the right property. Sellers are often more willing to accept an offer from a buyer who has already been pre-approved for a mortgage. My recommendation would be to find your Realtor first and ask them who are some of the lenders their past clients have worked with. The agent should be able to provide 3-4 options to choose from.

This is fairly simple if you work with a trusted lender. You just need to provide your lender with some basic information about your financial situation, including your income, debts, and assets. Once you’re pre-approved, you’ll receive a letter from your lender that indicates how much they’re willing to lend you.

Keep in mind that being pre-approved for a mortgage doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get a loan. Your actual loan approval will be based on several factors, including the value of the home you’re looking to purchase and your credit score. But getting pre-approved is still a valuable first step in the home-buying process.

Tip #4: Research & Educate Yourself About the Real Estate Market

If you're a first-time homebuyer, it's important to do your homework and research the real estate market before making any big decisions. Research & educate yourself about the real estate market so you can make informed decisions throughout the home-buying process. I can also help you understand the market and find the right property for your needs.

Tip #5: Consider Neighborhoods Carefully

If you're a first-time homebuyer, it's important to carefully consider the neighborhoods you're looking at - not just the homes. Here are a few tips:

1. Location, location, location. The old real estate saying still rings true - location is key. You want to be sure you're happy with the neighborhood you choose, as you'll be spending a lot of time there. Consider things like the commute to work, schools in the area, noise levels, and general safety when making your decision.

2. Look beyond the surface. A neighborhood may seem perfect on the surface, but there could be hidden issues that only become apparent after living there for a while.
3. Be sure to do your research before making any decisions.

4. Know your budget. It's important to have a realistic budget in mind when choosing a neighborhood - you don't want to end up priced out of your dream home because you underestimated the cost of living in a certain area.

5. Have realistic expectations. Not every neighborhood is going to be perfect, so it's important to set realistic expectations before making your decision. Know what trade-offs you're willing to make (e.g., slightly longer commute for a quieter neighborhood) and which deal-breakers are non-negotiable (e.g., must be safe for children).

6. Trust your gut.

There's a lot to keep in mind when buying a home, but it's all worth it in the end. Knowing what the process involves, and how to handle whatever comes up, is a great way to arm yourself for this exciting journey. For more home buying tips, or to find out about the full home-buying process, schedule a free buyer consultation with me. I would love to guide and help you, find your dream home.

Getting keys to a home

Texas First-Time Home Buyer FAQs

Question: Do you need to have an agent before you start touring properties?

Answer: Yes. You need a licensed real estate agent to tour properties on the market. If you submit the forms on Zillow or, they will connect you with an agent who you have never talked to or met. I highly suggest starting your home search with a reliable, trusted agent who you have spoken with and who has walked you through the home-buying process.

Question: How does one decide on which agent to go with? What attributes make an agent capable to represent you best? Do I need to sign up with a single agent during the research stage? Or can I work with multiple agents? Can I find the property myself and my choice of agent?

Answer: The realtor should be building a rapport with you rather than treat this like a transaction. Did they give you information on how this process works from the start, up until the day of the closing? Are they communicating with you constantly? Do they have market knowledge of the area you are looking to buy? Are they sending you suggestions of what properties you should look at? Are they making your life easier by sending you properties that go live on the market right away? You should interview the agent you were referred to or if you found them on social media or an ad. Talk to them about why they are doing real estate. Are they educating you about the home-buying process when they meet with you for the first time?

You can only work with one agent. It's illegal to work with multiple realtors if you signed a Buyer Representation agreement with one.

Don't waste your time searching for the right property, let the agent do it for you. Agents are not door openers, they are here to find you the right house and hold your hand through this journey.

Question: The agents who have posted on Zillow or, are they listing agents or buyers agents? If I set up a tour for that specific property, does that mean I have to work with that particular house listing agent?

Answer: Listing agents are the ones who post on the MLS which gets posted on all the public listing sites. When you submit their forms, Zillow and teams will connect you with a brokerage who will assist you with showing you the house.
Question: How does the agent get paid? Is 3% standard or negotiable? Should it be negotiated?

Answer: This is a great question. The buyer's agent commission is paid by the seller. The listing agent negotiates the 3% for the buyer’s agent before the listing is public. 3% is the market standard. Please do not negotiate this with your agent if they are giving you their 100% effort into helping you buying you your home.


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