Whether you're currently house hunting, or hoping to do so in the next few years, I think this is all great advice and I hope you'll find it helpful! Take it away, Amanda!
Hi I’m Amanda! I’m a Licensed Realtor in Dubuque, Iowa. I started working in real estate as a part-time marketing assistant during college and I’ve been in the industry just about 3 years now. After graduation
I obtained my real estate license and am now working as a Realtor/Licensed Assistant on a team of 3
Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but as I think back to just a few years ago, I had
absolutely no clue about the home-buying process. I remember wishing there would have been a class
in college about topics such as buying a home, how to improve your credit score, buying a car, investing,
and other things that are super important, but not as commonly taught in classes (or at least not mine!).
Real estate is different from state to state and the markets can even vary between each city. Every place
is different, but these tips are based on my experience working in real estate in Iowa.
10 tips for first time home buyers:
1. Getting pre-approved is the very first step when you start to get serious about buying a home.
Meet with your lender and find out how much you can afford. The last thing you want is to look
at a house, fall in love with it, and then learn that it’s out of reach for you.
2. As a buyer, working with a Realtor is no cost to you. Before I got into real estate this was
something I didn’t understand at all. The Realtors are paid commission from the seller and it will
be split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent.
3. Realtors really are the experts on the local market so get in contact with one and see if you can
meet with him/her to discuss what you’re looking for. They can keep an eye out for you and if
something comes on the market that fits your criteria, they can get you in for a showing right
away so you don’t miss anything.
4. Pay attention to (or ask your Realtor) what the market conditions are. Are you in a seller’s
market? A buyer’s market? Or a relatively stable market? Each of these scenarios will call for a
different strategy when it comes to not only placing an offer, but the house hunting in process in
5. Zillow and Trulia aren’t usually the best resources for searching for homes. Oftentimes there will
be homes that look like they’re for sale on here, but they aren’t even listed on the market or for
sale by owner. They have inaccurate information and the home value estimates (Zestimates) are
generally off. No one from Zillow ever steps foot into one of these homes, so how are they
supposed to know how much it is worth? Stick with websites such as Realtor.com or your local
real estate company’s website.
6. Ask your Realtor or lender about any first time home buyer incentives. In my city there are a few
grants you can receive if you’re buying your first home to go towards the down payment or
closing costs. There are also loans targeted towards these buyers too that won’t require as
much of a down payment.
7. If a home says it’s “under contract,” “pending,” “subject to contingencies” or “subject to
financing,” that’s generally just a long of saying it’s sold. It hasn’t closed yet, but it’s no longer
active and (usually) not accepting showings.
8. Before you make an offer on a home, make sure you’re aware of the costs that may come up.
Aside from the mortgage, buyers usually pay for a home inspection, radon test, pest inspection,
closing costs, and potentially others. Ask your Realtor for an estimate sheet so you know up
front the fees/costs you should be ready for.
9. When you’ve been pre-approved and have placed an offer on a home, it’s important that you
don’t make any big purchases or switch jobs during this time. This can really affect your credit
score so hold off on buying a new car, purchasing new furniture, or quitting your job until after
you close on the home.
10. There is no perfect home! Be open minded and flexible when searching for homes. For the
majority of people, they may only do this a small number of times (or once!) in their life.
Although it can be a stressful process, try to have fun and make the best of it!
Thank you so much to Amanda for all of the helpful tips! Be sure to check out her blog, Exploring Life and Things. I know you'll love it as much as I do!
Who else is in the house hunting process?
What tips do you have for finding and purchasing a home?
Do you have any other questions about home buying?
Linking up with Amanda!