What advice can you offer to first-time home buyers?
Buying a home can be intimidating for anyone, but particularly so for the “rookie” homebuyer. Whether a home is priced at a $500,000 or $5 million, a buyer wants to know they are paying a fair price for their biggest-ever acquisition.
In Greenwich, the starter-home price range is most competitive in terms of number of interested buyers circling each available home. Also, the first-time buyer is likely to be unaware of all the potential pitfalls in the home-buying process, which is why they need to surround themselves with experts who can guide them. The right broker can add value for a new homebuyer in myriad of ways, including helping the buyer assemble a team of experts in several relevant practices including mortgage bankers, home inspectors, engineers, local attorneys and builders.
A crucial first step for every buyer is to get educated about the town and sub-markets they’re considering. Surfing real estate websites may be helpful on a superficial level, but nothing replaces visiting properties firsthand for a greater understanding all the nuances that influence a home’s value. This includes visiting public open houses and touring neighborhoods and homes with a local Realtor who is knowledgeable in all aspects of the community and its properties so the first-time home buyer can narrow down which neighborhood/school district/street they want to live in.
When the right house hits the market the buyer needs to be prepared to pull the trigger and present a competitive buyer profile. That involves the most significant move the buyer can undertake to convince the seller they are ready to close; i.e. getting pre-approved for as large a loan they will need. The buyer can improve their odds of winning a bidding war even more by offering up more than the typical 20-percent down payment. At this time, the buyer should also have lined up an inspector and a real estate attorney. An experienced buyer’s agent will ferret out factors that are important to the sellers, such as the seller’s preferred closing date, or any extraneous seller conditions, in order to present the strongest offer possible.
After closing, I always encourage newcomers, whether first-time or fifth-time homebuyers, to get involved in one or several of the great organizations or activities Greenwich has to offer, including school PTAs, town governance, the many musical groups, various clubs and outdoor endeavors.
Buying a first home should be a wonderful experience, but it comes with a steep learning curve. Having the right experts on your side — from brokers to inspectors to lawyers — will make all the difference.
Cynthia De Riemer, Coldwell Banker/Greenwich Fine Properties, (203) 637-1300 office, (203) 918-1523 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org