First-time homebuyers better pack patience along with their fine china
It’s a wild and wooly time to buy a house, but it can be especially trepidatious for the first-time buyer, now tasked with navigating the process during a time when homes sometimes only last hours on the market.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, said Allie Beth Allman and Associates executive vice president Susan Baldwin and Rogers Healy, owner of the eponymous Rogers Healy and Associates.
Looking for a home and getting to the closing table can feel like a marathon, not a spring. But it will be worth it.Susan Baldwin
“My advice to the first-time homebuyers is to get pre-qualified in advance. Many areas are seeing multiple offers, and it’s hard to compete with a cash buyer without being really ready,” Baldwin said. “Also, looking at lots of homes is never a waste of time because then you will know when you see ‘the one!’ Finding your neighborhood will help you target your search. And don’t get discouraged!”
“I can’t stress patience enough. Today’s market is more competitive than we have ever seen it, and not just for entry-level homes,” said Healy. “Luxury homes are just as competitive. Be patient with the process and trust that everything happens for a reason.”
“As you are looking for a home, I urge you to put yourself in the seller’s shoes. Thinking like a buyer can change the way your deal works,” he added. “Also, over-communicate with your Realtor throughout the entire process. Buying your first home can be a daunting task, and you shouldn’t have to navigate it on your own. Don’t be afraid to over ask, it will end up helping you in the long run.”
Healy and Baldwin said that managing expectations for buyers is also part of their jobs now.
“Right now, individuals in the Dallas-Fort Worth market aren’t just competing against each other; they are competing with the thousands of other people who are relocating to North Texas,” Healy said. “It can be frustrating to not only lose out on an offer but lose out on an offer from someone who has only toured the home virtually.”
“I tell my sellers that the best offer may not be the highest offer because some buyers get overly enthusiastic but really can’t perform,” Baldwin added. “And it’s always a good idea to send a letter with a photo to personalize yourselves in a multiple bid situation.
“Sometimes sellers root for the first-time buyers! It’s like anything. Put your best foot forward and then be confident in who you are and the offer you are able to submit. You will get a great home.”
Healy said that once you’re in home buying mode, it’s a bad time to make many big decisions.
“While you are waiting for your closing date, make sure you are not making any major life changes,” he said. “One of the worst things to happen is to lose the house after having your offer accepted. Make sure your finances aren’t changing, you aren’t switching jobs, and you aren’t making any major purchases. Keep a low profile until after you have closed.”
He also said that real estate professionals might need to get a little more creative to help their homebuyers find that dream home. He suggests crafting a more dynamic offer that includes things that might be more beneficial to the seller, like a free leaseback or slightly shortening the option period.
“Find the right Realtor for you and your needs. I can’t stress how important your relationship with your Realtor is,” he added. “They will be the ones fighting for your perfect home, and given the competition in the market today, that relationship is even stronger.”
But most of all, both say that buying a home right now — for anyone — is an exercise in patience.
“Looking for a home and getting to the closing table can feel like a marathon, not a sprint,” Baldwin said. “But it will be worth it.”
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