From dreamer to first-time home buyer

29 08 2007

With the variety of choices available to home buyers and the hope that anxious home sellers will give them a break, some first-time home buyers may be tempted to take on a home purchase as a “do-it-yourself” project.

Before jumping into the real estate market, consumers should consider that they are about to make what is not only the biggest financial investment of their lives but also an emotional investment. Home buying, especially for the novice buyer, involves complex decision-making that will have long-term consequences for their entire household.

First-time buyers can benefit from taking a home-buying class offered by a local real estate office, nonprofit association or government agency.

Most home buyers begin by educating themselves about their local real estate market and the home-buying process by searching the Internet.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, nearly three-fourths of home buyers found the Internet to be a very useful tool while searching for a home. About 85 percent of buyers also opted to work with a real estate agent during the process.

Karrina Brown, broker-owner of Taylor Brown Realty in Alexandria, says, “There’s certainly lots of information available on the Internet, and it is a great way to preview homes, but there is so much more to buying a house. People need to think hard about a lot of community and lifestyle issues. Some buyers get seduced into buying a home that looks great but that really doesn’t meet their needs.”

First-time buyers should start either by finding a real estate agent experienced with first-time buyers or by meeting with a lender. The financial step of obtaining preapproval for a mortgage loan should be undertaken before house hunting. Real estate agents can recommend trusted local lenders, or buyers can find a lender on their own if they prefer.

“Consumers should interview more than one lender,” recommends Rick Eul, assistant vice president of Bank of America in Annandale. “They should get suggestions from friends or family members who have recently bought a home, call a mortgage broker to see what they have to offer and call the mortgage department of their own bank, especially if it is one of the larger banks. They need to make sure they find someone they can trust and someone who will give them good service and return their phone calls.”

Read the rest here, written by Michele Lerner, Washington Times.




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