Buying a home is a huge undertaking—especially if you’re a first-timer or buyer who has been out of the market for a while. We spoke with local realtors to find out what advice they give their clients when they start their search.
“You need to look at for me the livability of a home. In my experience, people just know when they walk in a home. You want that gut feeling. As much as it’s a mental purchase, it’s also an emotional one. People are tied to their homes. That’s where memories are made. You want that connection to the house. I’m also a big advocate for home warranties. No two people live in the home the same. It really protects the buyer. It’s nice to be able to enjoy your home in the first year without worrying about the small things.” —Rebecca Barton, Delaware and Chester counties, New Castle County
“Know when to walk away from a negotiation. We’re finding multiple offers now, and emotions can get in the way. If you’re at the top of what you can afford, you shouldn’t go any higher when bidding. Set your limits and stick with it.” –Sheri Smith, Gloucester, Burlington and Camden counties
“Sometimes buyers look at homes outside their budget because they haven’t gone through the approval process to learn what they can afford to spend. Then they find the home they want, but another buyer with their finances in order buys it – they were ready, willing and able to buy the house. The key word there is ‘able.’” –Tom Lowy, Main Line
“ Today’s buyer—I call it the HGTV effect—they walk in and want granite, stainless steel. These things aren’t a big deal, but buyers see them missing and they think it’s the worst property in the world. I tell people to work from a neighborhood perspective first—where do you want to be? People need to spend some time in the basement. It’s not pretty, but you need to know if there is moisture down there, the type of electric the house. Once the foundation is set—they call it the heartbeat of the home—then you can start looking at stuff upstairs.” –Bryan Capone, Center City
“I think that right now, first-time buyers should make sure the house is in the right location and large enough for their plans in the future. People aren’t moving as frequently. They’re staying 10 years because the appreciation isn’t there. It’s harder to turn homes over and have the equity to move to the next one. Also look at the systems, things that are expensive: roof, heating, air conditioning, windows. Are these things you are going to have to replace? If so, you are going to need to plan for that.” –Monica Maben, Montgomery County