Best Tips for First Time Home Buyers: Learn to Trust
We have just finished buying our first home. It's a great feeling, but has been a long process with a steep learning curve. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing tips and stories in an occasional series about buying your first home.
As chronic information gatherer I started out the home buying process by scouring the internet for information and hitting up the local library. I read everything I possibly could about buying a house.
I read 8 or 9 books, countless blogs and websites, reread book chapters, and still couldn't fully understand the home buying process. I talked to friends and family who own homes. After all of this information hunting I concluded: there is too much to know about the ins and outs of buying a house to learn it all yourself.
Thus, I learned to trust. There is a reason people specialize in real estate careers. Just like most people don't represent themselves in major court cases, most people don't buy a house without assistance.
Here are the best tips for starting the home buying process.
Find People You Can Trust and Trust Them
Because you can't know everything about buying a home, you need to surround yourself with people who know more than you. And these people need to be people that you trust. Here at the key trustworthy people you need on your side:
Find a realtor who will tell you if a home is a good value for the neighborhood (and if the neighborhood itself is any good).
Find a mortgage broker who answers your questions honestly and truthfully and does so in a patient and professional manner.
Find a home inspector who is certified and will take the time to walk you through your house and point out all its faults.
Friend or Family Member
Find a friend or family member who can give you a second opinion on a house you like to point out qualities about the house that fit with your likes and dislikes. (Perhaps the kitchen is too small, but your favorite activity is cooking.)
I'll discuss in future posts more specific questions to ask these people, the qualities suggested above are a starting point. The critical piece is that they are people you can trust.
Ultimately Trust Your Gut
While it's critical to find people you can trust, ultimately you have to live in the house you buy, with the mortgage rate you lock-in, and with the house's quirks and problems. So, if your gut is tells you something is off, do more research.
Moreover, no one will have more invested in your home than you will. Realtors and mortgage brokers earn commission based on the cost of the house/mortgage you buy. So, the more expensive your house and mortgage, the more money they earn. (There are exceptions, but this is the general rule.) So, while you should trust these people, do some homework and remember their biases.
I asked hundreds of questions while house hunting. The people we surrounded ourselves with provided sometimes brutally honest answers, but these answers were critical to having a good experience.
Buying a home is an enormous endeavor. But by finding people you trust, the process will run a little more smoothly.