Did you enjoy part I of my interview with Alicyn DelZoppo? If you haven’t read it (see “Real Estate Chat: First-Time Home Buyer’s Guide – Part I”), you must check it out as she demystifies buying a home and what to look for in a realtor. With such great insight into the world of real estate, I had to keep the momentum going.
Below is part II (the conclusion) of my chat with Alicyn. Enjoy!
Tips & Tricks for the First-Time Home Buyer (Part II)
TP (Tanvier, executive editor of Casa Diseno): Generally speaking, is the process of buying a house affordable (e.g. down payments, closing costs)?
AD (Alicyn DelZoppo): With some loans, the seller is able to assist the buyer with paying for some of their closing costs. Also, check with your employer and local county/city and state to see if they have any programs in place for first time homebuyers. There are some programs out there that will help with closing costs and/or down payment. In some states, you receive a credit for purchasing as well. A realtor and mortgage lender should be able to assist you with this.
TP: When visiting potential homes, should prospective buyers bring friends and family along, or no?
AD: It really is a personal preference. In the case of a buyer receiving some financial assistance from parents, the family often times views the home. Even if there is no financial assistance, it’s a big decision in one’s life as many respect the opinion of their family and friends. They can bring some sound advice and perspective. My experience is that most buyers view the properties alone, decide on the ones they really like, and then bring back the family and/or friends for the last opinion. Remember, ultimately, whom you are purchasing the house is for though.
TP: What is your process (or pointers) on selecting the perfect home?
AD: Decide whether you’re a handy individual or if you have the resources (whether friends or family) to assist you in any repairs. This will determine whether you should focus on a home that you can move right into or if you should also open it up to a “fixer upper.”
TP: Should potential buyers look for homes online (e.g. living in a different state)? Why or why not?
AD: I believe the figure is somewhere around 92% of buyers begin their search online and actually view their home on the net before ever stepping foot into it. While you never get a true feel (actual size of the rooms, feel of the neighborhood, full layout of the house) for a home until you go to physically view it, you can get a pretty good idea on the property just by viewing it online. It can be really helpful when narrowing down the search. I have some buyers who don’t want to do any renovations to a house and they want the house already updated – you can see that from the photos. I also have buyers who don’t want a lot backing up to other homes – you can see that online. It is also very helpful for those living out of state. Before they move, they can at least get an idea as to the style and pricing of homes in the area that they are moving to.
TP: Once in the home, about how long should a home owner stay before trying to sell?
AD: Again, view your purchase as an investment. Very rarely are you going to be able to purchase and make a profit the next day. There is honestly no rule as to how long an owner should stay. I would recommend that one consult with a local real estate agent to receive a comparative market analysis to get an idea as to what things are selling for in the area, on a yearly basis, to know where you are positioned.
TP: Last call for tips or recommendations to first time home buyers looking for or deciding on a home.
AD: Have fun!