What You Should Remember as a First-Time Homebuyer
As a first-time homebuyer,
- Choose One Agent to Represent You. While it might seem like bouncing from agent to agent can help you score a better deal, you want to have buyer representation to build a trusting relationship with a realtor who will put your needs first as they guide you through the home buying process – every step of the way.
- Buyer Representation Will Not Cost You a Thing. A common misconception that first-time homebuyers believe is that you, the first-time homebuyer, pay for the buyers’ agent. In Ohio, however, the buyers’ agent commission is paid for by the seller(s). Sellers typically pay between 5-6 percent commission; part of the commission goes to the listing agent, and part of the commission goes to the selling/buyers agent.
- Get Prequalified. Receiving prequalification before looking at homes allows you to understand better your price range, your down payment, and your ability to upgrade once you select a home. If you are not already prequalified, your realtor will suggest lenders that will be well-suited to your financial needs. Some lenders also give buyers discounts or specialty rates if you purchase in an “up and coming” area; these incentives can be substantial and should be considered.
- Get Educated. Is one area more likely to be tax abated than another? Is one area more likely to have bidding wars? While these questions are ones your agent can help you answer, having a base understanding of the current market is essential before submitting your first offer. To start your educational process, we suggest having your realtor set up a search for the areas you’re interested in relocating to. If you can, attend open houses and drive around your favorite neighborhoods to get a better feeling for the area(s) you want to target in your search.
- Sales Comparables. To help guide you on market value and potential appraisal hurdles, always have your realtor prepare sales comparables (“comps”) for you before making your offer on the house of your choice.