There’s a first time for everything. As a first-time home buyer, navigating the uncharted territory of the home buying process can be challenging to say the least. Although every home purchase is unique, there are certain knowns that can help you manage your expectations. Once you’re ready to buy, knowing a bit more about how to approach the market will have you well on your way to getting the keys to your first home.
Managing Expectations as a First-Time Home Buyer
Local Market Conditions
Your local housing market conditions will loom large in the buying process. In a competitive market (i.e. a seller’s market), prices are being driven up by demand, sellers have the leverage during negotiations, and it may take a long time to find the right home. In such a market, you can expect to compete against multiple buyers where everyone is trying to sweeten their offer to make it stand out. This usually takes the form of waived contingencies, escalation clauses, and all-cash offers. Buying in a competitive market is challenging for any buyer, let alone a first-time home buyer. Having greater buying power and getting pre-approved for a mortgage are two key paths to bolstering your financial standing and improving your chances of submitting a winning offer.
Though finding the right home is never a cakewalk, the conditions of a buyer’s market will be in your favor. In such market conditions, sellers are competing for the attention of a limited pool of buyers and are more flexible during negotiations. With less competition around you, you can afford to be more patient and selective when pursuing available listings.
Which homes can you afford?
It’s easy to fall in love with a home based on its listing photos, but one look at the price tag can break the spell. By knowing which homes are in your budget, you’ll be able to focus your time and effort on listings that are financially feasible. And remember, there are a myriad of costs to buying a home beyond the listing price to include in your budget.
To get an idea of what you can afford, use our free Home Monthly Payment Calculator by clicking the button below. With current rates based on national averages and customizable mortgage terms, you can experiment with different values to get an estimate of your monthly payment for any home price. By using the Home Monthly Payment Calculator, you can make a well-informed estimation of whether it’s the right time to buy.
Working with Your Agent
Fortunately, you don’t have to take on the home buying process on your own. A buyer’s agent will help to manage your expectations from start to finish by helping you look for homes, make an offer, negotiate with the seller and their agent on your behalf, and provide clarity on the closing process. Beyond their ability to get down to brass tacks and help you purchase a home, your agent will be there to answer your questions, validate your emotions, and connect you to their network of helpful resources.