Tips for First-Time and Experienced Buyers


  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home, with the monthly payments that fit your budget.
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been pre-approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that are out of your price range. With Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you are pre-qualified for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property. Costs for pre-approval are generally nominal and lenders will usually permit you to pay them when you close your loan.
  • List of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list is your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.) but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for. Know what you want, the locations, styles, size, etc you will consider before you every schedule viewings.
  • Looking at houses:  Some realtors don’t agree but I see nothing wrong with the buyer getting a list of prospective houses MLS printout from their realtor and doing drive-bys. This saves a lot of time for the buyer and realtor by narrowing the showing schedule to those that appear from the curb to be true prospects. It also allows Mom, Dad and the children to discuss the house, the neighborhood, distance to schools, work, shopping, etc, in the privacy of their car or living room. If the location won’t work the house won’t either. Forget it and keep looking. Please! Only if Mom and Dad agree the house is a prospect should you schedule a viewing of the house. Be considerate of your realtors time and he / she will bend over backwards to help you find and purchase the right house.
  • Representation by a Professional: Consider hiring your own qualified real estate agent, one who is working for you, the buyer, not the seller. Consider an “ABR” – Accredited Buyer Representative. Fewer then 2% of all licensed realtors in the USA have qualified for and hold the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) designation. David Wynn of WynnDcorp Realty is one of that elite group.
  • Focus & Organization: In a convenient location, keep handy the items that will assist you in maximizing your home search efforts. Such items may include:
    1. One or more detailed maps with your areas of interest highlighted.
    2. A file of the properties that your agent has shown to you, along with ads you have cut out from the newspaper or printed from the internet.
    3. Paper and pen, for taking notes as you search.
    4. Instant or video camera to help refresh your memory on individual properties, especially if you are attending a series of showings.
    5. Location: 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, and freeway access) and negative (abandoned properties, garbage dump, source of noise) features of the area?
  • Visualize the house empty & with your decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Don’t expect the impossible and don’t look for everything to be perfect. Visualize the house with fresh coat of paint, or updated carpet. That old kitchen stove can be replaced if the house price is right. That is why you should have an ABR and insist your realtor provide written or computer generated, professional CMV … Current Market Value analysis for the house before making an offer, but only when you have selected your first choice of the one you want to buy.
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There are many houses on the market, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later. But, in some markets if you “snooze you loose”. Don’t let that rush you but don’t delay in proceeding with an offer when you make your decision.
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
    2. Have the property inspected by a professional inspector.
    3. Request a second walk-through to take place within 24 hours of closing.
    4. You want to check to see that no changes have been made that were not agreed on (i.e., a nice chandelier that you assumed came with the sale having been replaced by a cheap ceiling light).
  • All the above may seem rather overwhelming. That is why having a professional represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please email me or call me directly or our office staff to discuss any of these matters in further detail. David Wynn, RRS, RECS, Broker, ABR –   Phone: 828-926-5060