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Around The Block: 3 Key Things to Consider When Buying Your First Home

Photo credit: Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

Photo credit: Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

Home buying is one of the biggest investments you make in your life and one of the first you make when you’re ready to start a family. Pair those stressful life events with a competitive market and just the thought of the whole experience starts to make your head spin.

Not if you have a Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates to help guide you through the process. These agents in the Greater Philadelphia area know the ins and outs to help first-time buyers find their dream home (sans stressful situations). So, if you just started to tackle the idea of where you want to settle down, or you’ve already dreamt up the color palette of your perfect colonial, the Coldwell Banker Preferred agents recommend asking yourself these questions as you start your search. 

What questions should prospective home buyers ask themselves before beginning their search?

Louise Carter: How much can I afford? You may be approved to purchase a $300,000 home but the upkeep or available options may not fit your lifestyle. Start to narrow down the towns and neighborhoods you like to give yourself a frame of reference on price points.

It’s also important to start saving for a down payment and fees associated with home buying. Remember, they’ll also be additional costs for inspections, so it’s important to have an emergency fund.

Mary Beth Oates: What features are your priorities? Size, condition, amenities or location? This helps you as you prioritize what features matter most in your search, especially if you plan on renovating a home.

It’s also important to connect with real estate professionals that you know and trust. Buyers and agents will need to work closely together through the home buying process.

Matthew Greene: How long do I see myself living in this property? Answering this will help you determine if the house in question is a good investment or not. With the way the real estate market can fluctuate, you’ll want to be in a home at least five years in order to get the most return on investment if you decide to resell.

Why is it important to work with agents, like the Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates?

Carter: Experienced agents have an extensive knowledge of the area and the sales process, including availability to arrange for all the details to be completed through closing. Also, a real estate agent can serve as a reference when you’re ready to reach out to mortgage lenders. Plus, we know there are a lot of programs for first time home buyers that make it easier than ever to help you purchase your first home.

Greene: Prospective homebuyers might not realize that it’s free for them to work with a real estate agent–and it’s one of the best assets you could take advantage of when you’re looking to buy a home! Unless you have a background in negotiating, an agent is your go-to for legal protection (understanding complex contracts), determining if you’re paying under, over, or at-cost for a home, as well as if a house has undergone the appropriate inspections.

What is one feature house hunters often overlook?

Carter: They should ask if flood insurance is needed or about any environmental issues that may come up in a particular neighborhood or town because of the home’s location. We’ll be able to answer and point them to specific builders that can be a resource for years to come.

Oates: This varies according to market. But it’s always good to look for what the common features are in a neighborhood to see how your home would compare. For example, in one market basements may be so prevalent that a home without one would be at a disadvantage. Yet in another market where the basement is not prevalent, having one will be less important.

Greene: Something I didn’t even realize until I started working in the industry is that real estate agents work together. So, even if you have your sights set on a home that might not be listed with a certain realty group, a Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates can still work with you and other agents to find your perfect match.

For more insider information on how to start your home search in the Greater Philadelphia area visit, Coldwell Banker Preferred online at coldwellbankerhomes.com/philadelphia.