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First Time Home Buyers

If you are a first-time home buyer, or simply haven't been in the market to purchase a home in a while, we've compiled some helpful information and tips below.

As always, you should start the search long before you are ready to sign a purchase agreement. Here's what you might expect from your house shopping experience.

Weigh the Benefits

Home ownership has many advantages. Tax-deductible interest, more privacy, building equity, and being part of a community are just a few. Buying a home is part of the American dream.

Define Your Search

90% of all home searches begin on the Internet. Home buyers can use this site to search through hundreds of listings, view virtual tours, and sort through dozens of photographs and aerial maps of neighborhoods and homes. This site also includes information on demographics, crime statistics, school districts, neighborhood amenities, and more. Before you start looking at houses, you should define your goals and have a good idea of the type of home and neighborhood you want. When you are ready to begin your search, head over to our List Search or Map Search pages to find some great options.

How Long Should It Take?

Some buyers look for years, but most buyers who do that aren't very motivated. Motivated buyers will find a home in a couple of weeks; most buyers find a home within two months. 

Good real estate agents will understand your needs and wants and arrange to show you homes that fit your specific parameters. Your agent should preview homes before taking you on a showing of the properties. If you don't already have an agent, head over to our Agents & Brokers page to find some qualified local agents.

How Many Homes Will You See?

Most buyers will look at five to seven homes in one day. Some will look at more, but to do so is to risk overloading your senses. If you see 10 or more homes in a day you may not remember details about any of them.

How to Rate Inventory
  • Bring a note pad and a camera. Start all notes and picture sets with a close-up of the house number and front of the home to identify where each group of pictures begin and end.
  • Take detailed notes of features, colors, design elements, and any pros and cons. 
  • Pay attention to the property's surroundings. What is next door? What's behind the house? What is the condition of neighboring properties?
  • Use all of your senses. Listen for ambient sounds.
  • Do you like the location? Is it near a park or a power plant? Is there traffic noise?
  • Rate each home on a scale of 1 to 10 before you visit the next house.
View Top Choices a Second Time

After looking at houses for several days, you will start to instinctively know which ones you would like to buy. Go see them again. A second look will allow you to see each property in a different light. You will probably notice things - both good and bad - that were overlooked the first time. 

At this point, your agent should call the listing agents to find out more about the listing and the sellers' motivation. Make sure that an offer hasn't come in and that the home of your dreams is still available to purchase. You don't want to waste your time writing an offer on a pending sale.

Your Agent's Role

Agents rarely know which home a buyer will ultimately choose. But good agents have an intuition. Agents make it a practice not to steer buyers toward or away from a certain home. After all, it's not the agent's choice to make!

Real estate agents are required to point out any defects that they see. They should also help buyers feel confident that the home they buy ultimately meets the buyer's goals and objectives.