10 Tips for First Time Home Buyers in the Portland Metro Area
10 Tips for First Time Home Buyers in the Portland Metro Area. As a licensed real estate agent specializing in Buyer Broker services, these 10 Tips are for the Portland Metro area. If you find these tips online, they may apply to your location. But, keep in mind, real estate is local, as are the “tips.”
First Time Home Buying Tip #1:
Engage the services of an experienced Buyers Agent to represent you!
Find a Portland Realtor® who has experience representing Buyers. This is especially useful for first time buyers in Portland. Preferably engage the services of a Buyers Broker. Find an Portland Buyers Agent who is simpatico, someone who is not going to cause unnecessary drama. First time home buyers are not only making a financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical, especially if you’re buying a home for the first time, that your Realtor® is both skilled and experienced with first time home buyers.
The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development “Shopping for Your Home” has a section (found on Page 6) which talks about the BUYERS’ RESPONSIBILITY in shopping for a house:
Role of the Real Estate Agent or Broker
Frequently, the first person you consult about buying a home is a real estate agent or broker. Although these agents and brokers provide helpful advice, they may legally be representing the interests of the seller and not yours. . .
It is your responsibility to search for an agent who will represent your interests in the real estate transaction. If you want someone to represent only your interests, consider hiring an BUYER’S AGENT, who will be working for you.
First Time Home Buying Tip #2:
Now is the Time to Buy a Home
Always remember: There’s no “right” time for first time buyers in Portland to buy a home, any more than there’s a “right” time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes in the housing market don’t usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price and a good home won’t stay on the market long. As your Buyer’s Agent I know the current market and can keep my finger on the pulse for you.
Please see my recent post: What First Time Buyers Need to Know
First Time Home Buying Tip #3:
Don’t ask for too many opinions.
Hard as this may be to hear . . . your parents, or your sister’s brother-in-law’s uncle probably aren’t licensed Realtors®. And although it’s natural for first time buyers to want reassurance for such a big decision, too many opinions and outside static will make it much harder for you to make your decision.
Example: The parents that came to look at the property that was priced at $189,000. A good price for the area at that time, with the condition of the property, this was very good price. Only problem was, the parents bought their one home over 20 years ago, at $70,000. They thought the price was too high . . . based on their experience. It wasn’t.
First Time Home Buying Tip #4:
Accept that no house is perfect.
Focus on things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go. As a first time home buyer in the Metro Portland market, chances are you will have a price point: a price that you will feel comfortable with in making a purchase. The price point for many first time buyers may be modest and conservative and homes will reflect this.
Related Article: Sweat Equity
First Time Home Buying Tip #5:
Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price, or too many seller concessions may alienate the seller. Ask me about my horror stories . . . when first time buyers “negotiated” too much and killed their own deal, losing out on the house they really wanted to buy. If you try to be a “killer negotiator” you may just end up killing your deal. Again . . . ask me about my horror stories!
Real estate markets change. We have tight markets, such as “Sellers’ Market” and “Buyers’ Market.” At times, it is very important to know how strong the particular real estate market can be, because this can help with negotiation.
Example: I recently negotiated close to $6,000 in closing costs for my Buyer client. This was done in a strong seller’s market where it was doubtful that they would accept that as a term and agree. I knew exactly how to present this, and I was successful in getting this negotiated on behalf of my client. This was a true HARD DOLLAR savings!
Example: I’ve seen Buyers lose out on a home they really wanted because they wanted $1,000 LESS off the list price. The $1,000 off the list would have equated to about $20/month on their 30-year fixed loan. They lost a home focusing on the wrong thing. The $1,000 off the list price . . . equates to $20/month . . . and the buyers were not looking long-term on: APPRECIATION. Own the property long enough and that $1,000 fly-in-the-ointment will be moot, compared to the appreciation the property has in 10 years, the mortgage deduction write-off, etc. “Penny wise, but pound foolish,” as Ben Franklin would say.
First Time Home Buying Tip #6:
Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen — that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, etc., that impact the livability of your new home. While they say “Location, location, location,” there are also other aspects of your home aside from location that first time home buyers should pay close attention to. Commutes are a rather important consideration.
First Time Home Buying Tip #7:
Don’t wait until you’ve found a home to get approved for a mortgage.
Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to the sellers. There are many good programs available for the first time buyer, the Oregon Bond Program, USDA Loans. It’s best to find out what you qualify for when buying your first home.
First Time Home Buying Tip #8:
Factor in maintenance and repair costs.
If you’re using me as your first time buyers agent, I will most likely do a splendid job of getting the repairs addressed during the repair contingency of your home purchase contract. But, when the home is yours, YES you will have some post-home buying budget concerns. Again #4 above, and you will want to add your personal touches. This is especially important to first time home buyers. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate. It’s important to budget and determine deferred maintenance costs.
First Time Home Buying Tip #9:
Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable.
First time buyers will always have a few “Are we doing the right thing?” thoughts. This is natural and will probably pass very quickly with a sense of reassurance that YES, you are doing the right thing. When you buy a home you should have the “We ARE doing the right thing!” thoughts . . . otherwise, don’t buy a house! Again, especially true if you’re a first time buyer. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it may also yield big benefits. I bought my first home I was 19 . . . many, many moons ago. Please talk to me personally about any trepidation.
First Time Home Buying Tip #10:
Choose a home first because you love it and it meets the majority of your “wants” and “need.”
THEN, and only then, think about appreciation. While U.S. homes can appreciate nicely if purchased correctly (not buying over your budget, not buying in a hot seller’s market, etc.) your home’s most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live and call home! Unless you’re an “investor” your home should be just that — Your Home. If you’re a first time home buyer, your home should be where you love to live.