As a first-time buyer, it can be easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the process of buying a home. The good news is an experienced Realtor can help guide you through the process by assessing what you want and need out of a home, both in the short-term and the years ahead. A homebuyer consultation during your first meeting with your Realtor is a chance to better understand the ins and outs of the process ahead of you, get answers to your questions, and begin narrowing your scope to find the home that’s right for you.
Here’s what you can expect during the homebuyer’s consultation.
The Homebuyer Consultation
During your first meeting with your agent, you will have the opportunity to ask questions, get a better understanding of what to expect as you search for a home and make an offer, and make sure that you are comfortable with the Realtor and confident in his or her abilities. This initial meeting is generally free and may last anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, depending on your level of knowledge and whether you already have a good idea of what you can afford and what you’re looking for.
In most cases, your consultation will start with an analysis of what you can afford to pay for a home. Your Realtor can help you review mortgage options if you aren’t already pre-approved for a loan. From there, the meeting will focus on your housing goals and your needs and wants in a home. While you may already have some idea about what you want, it’s common for first-time buyers to have somewhat unrealistic expectations. Your Realtor can help you understand the local market and prioritize your goals and needs.
Once your goals, needs, and wants are defined, your Realtor will help set up home search criteria so you can receive updated lists of available homes that meet your standards. Your email lists will be customized to your needs and help you narrow your focus to make the home search faster and easier.
Your homebuyer consultation is also an opportunity to get answers to any questions you may have. Your discussion with your Realtor can cover:
- What you should expect to pay for a home with your list of must-haves
- How long homes are staying on the market in your chosen area
- Whether you will need to sign a contract
- How long you can expect the home buying process to take
- Which disclosures are necessary from a seller
- Which closing costs you should expect to pay
- What you should expect of your Realtor throughout the process
How to Prepare for Your Homebuyer Consultation
Your homebuyer consultation will focus on your budget, your needs and wants, and what you consider deal-breakers to begin your search for the perfect home. If you arrive to your consultation armed with knowledge, it will be easier for your Realtor to understand exactly what you’re looking for. Here are some of the best ways to prepare for your first meeting with your agent.
Have Your Budget Ready
Before you begin searching for a home, it’s best to get preapproved for a mortgage. This preapproval gives you a maximum loan amount for which you qualify. While this can help you determine what you can afford and what your mortgage payments will be, it’s only the first step.
A lender may be willing to lend you more than you’re comfortable paying and it’s usually not best to max out your budget. After all, no one wants to be house poor. Determine a monthly payment you’re comfortable paying by preparing a realistic budget that includes other debts, living expenses, and maintenance and utilities for your home. You can use a new house or home buyer calculator to help you estimate your new home expenses.
Your Realtor can be a great help when it comes to finding a neighborhood with the amenities you want, but it’s a good idea to do some research on your own before your meeting. You may want to consider your commute, availability of nearby public transportation and freeways, school districts, and local amenities to narrow down your options.
Know Your Must-Haves and Deal-Breakers
During your homebuyer consultation, your Realtor can help you build a list of features you would like to have, but it helps you go into your meeting knowing the features you absolutely need and which features are deal-breakers. The most important factors to home-buyers tend to be:
- Home square footage
- Floor plan
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Location or commute
Your list may be very different, however. Carpet may be a deal-breaker for you if you have pets and don’t want to install new flooring, or you may consider an updated kitchen a must-have. Try to separate your needs from your wants before your homebuyer consultation. Your Realtor can help you better understand which items on your “want” list you can expect to find within your budget.
The homebuyer consultation is an important part of the homebuying process that allows your Realtor to identify your needs and deliver the best service possible. Your consultation gives your Realtor enough information to help you not only better define your wants and needs today but also in the future to choose a home that will make you happy for years to come in an area that offers the amenities you’re looking for. While a homebuyer consultation isn’t a necessity to buy a home through a Realtor, it can be very helpful if you want a better understanding of the home buying process or you need help defining your home goals and needs.
Ready to start your search for your dream home? At Evergreen Properties and Investments, we believe in personalized approach to helping you make informed real estate decisions. If you’re ready to buy a home in Long Beach, you can expect a focus on customer service and advice that will help you make the best decision possible. Contact us today to schedule a homebuyer consultation so we can get to work finding your new home!
From the Author: My name is Dan Barcelon and I believe that Real Estate can be one of the most valuable assets you’ll ever own. I’m dedicated to educating and guiding my clients on how to manage and leverage their homes to create an Evergreen legacy for themselves and their family. I primarily consult both home buyers and home sellers on reaching their personal and financial goals through Real Estate in the following cities of Southern California: Long Beach, Carson, Cerritos, Signal Hill, Torrance, Lakewood, Cypress, Downey, Bellflower, Norwalk, Wilmington, La Palma, and Artesia.
If you’d like to discuss if buying, selling, or investing in real estate is right for you at this time, feel free to reach out. You can call/text me at 562-270-5812, or you can e-mail me at danb@EPIrealestate.biz.