Embarking on the Home Buying Journey for the First Time? Here are some things to know.
This weekend I was talking to a friend who is ready to explore buying her first home. She’s excited and nervous, and as I talked to her I began to recall my first home buying experience many years ago. I literally knew absolutely nothing about how any of it worked, and as a result, my then husband and I probably made many mistakes, some of which I know now, and some I don’t because I don’t remember, but I know we made them.
Speaking with my friend made me realize how mysterious the buying process can feel if you’ve never done it, and how easily those of us who understand it takes knowing the process for granted. I also realized, based on my own experience, how difficult it can feel to know if you’re getting information that is true, and not just so someone can sell you something.
So here are some of the things I wanted my friend to know.
1. When you see a house you like and call the number on the sign, you will be connected to the listing agency, and they will try to get you to use one of their agents, which is their job. You don’t have to do that though. Choosing your own representation is empowering. Talk to homeowner friends about their agent, and talk to a couple of agents if you need to. Your agent is going to walk you through one of the biggest financial and possibly emotional journeys you may take. Like and trust them!
2. Any agent will have you sign an agency disclosure to see a house once. This is required by law and does not commit you to working with that agent, sign with confidence. If you are offered an exclusive agency package, this is a commitment to work with that agent, and you don’t have to sign that unless you are ready to work exclusively with that agent.
3. Get preapproved or prequalified for a loan. You will need that piece of paper to work with an agent, and to make an offer when you find your perfect house. If you don’t know where to start, ask your friends, or your agent for a referral. We send people here and here, in case you’re curious.
4. As the buyer, having an agent will not usually cost you anything. Your agent gets paid when the transaction completes and is paid through the selling brokerage. Some brokerages may have an upfront charge to the buyer, but not all do. (We don’t).
I could see the relief on my friends face hearing all this; understanding her first steps, and having a clear direction to go. The first homebuyer fog began to clear, and knowledge is empowering her decisions now. I haven’t signed any exclusive agency agreements with her, but whether she uses Southern Sky Realty or another brokerage for her purchase, I feel grateful that I could help her make wise and informed decisions.
If you are thinking about buying, and are looking for a brokerage who will walk you through the process with care and personalized service, we welcome your call. We’d love to see if we are a fit for your needs.