Advice for First-Time Buyers

Ronnie Corley
Cell: 760-382-7664
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It is a good idea to meet with a mortgage broker or financial officer and find out how much you can afford to borrow on a home and the potential down payment you will need.


Sellers will be much more receptive to you as a buyer if you have been pre-approved. You may also avoid being disappointed when going after a home that was out of your price range. A Pre-Approval is when the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. Assuming a home you're looking at buying is not more the your pre-approval amount, the seller will know immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property.

Needs and Wants

Make 2 lists; one with features of a home or property that is a must-have and one with features that would be bonuses. Items to include on the first might be number of bedrooms, bathrooms, location, yard size, accessibility, etc. The second list may contain things like: a pool, office, storage shed, granite, etc. anything that is desired but not absolutely necessary. Realistically for most first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list.

Professional Representation

Consider hiring a real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. They should be able to help you in every step of the process. In most cases, commissions paid to a buyer's agent are paid by the seller, so it will not cost you anything extra.

Organization and Notes

It is a good idea to keep a printout or digital file on each home or property that you look at. Make sure to write your own notes about things you liked or disliked, you may want to take own photos to help you remember. Visualize the house with your furnishings and ask your self questions like: Are the rooms laid out to fit? Is there enough light? Look at a potential property as if you are the seller. Would a prospective buyer find it attractive based on school district, crime rate, proximity to positive (shopping, parks, freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?

Think Clearly

Don't get caught in the moment, think with your head, make sure to look at the whole picture. Does this home really meet your needs? Chances are, there are many houses on the market, so don't rush into a decision that you may regret later. Once you have looked at several, narrow it down to two or three of your top choices and schedule additional visits.

Be Protective

A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
  1. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
  2. Request an additional walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
  3. Check to see if any changes were made that were not agreed to.
  4. Possible look into getting a home warranty.
The entire process my seem overwhelming. This is why having a professional agent represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please contact me to discuss any of these matters in further detail.