Thursday, March 3, 2016

Back to Basics—When the First Time Buyer is Your First Born



Buying a first house is difficult whether you’re in your mid-20’s or mid-30’s or really at any age. Over the years I have assisted people making this first big purchase in every age group from 18 on up. No matter the age, there are things that must be considered to be a successful homeowner. Buying a home should not be on a whim but a thought out plan. I always let a buyer make their own final decision but I do offer helpful advice throughout the home buying process.
My kids have grown up watching my educational sales process. Often I would have to pick them up from their elementary school and head directly to an afternoon showing with them in tow. They sat in the back of the minivan with snacks and Gameboys but I know they could occasionally hear conversations through the windows. 


Now my oldest is in that process of graduating from renter to home buyer. This is somewhat of a challenge for both of us requiring me to rely on my basic approach to educate rather than just say “don’t buy that one”. Over the years I have seen parents have to resort to a “tough love” approach with their children buying a first home. Sometimes it backfires even when the parents are right. The buyers are trying to spread their wings and make their first major adult purchase. It can be embarrassing to them when a parent vetoes their decision on their dream home. 


My job has been a balancing act of educating both parents and the buyer to somehow make everyone happy. After all, the buyer will have to live in the house and pay for updates and repairs whether Mom & Dad like the house or not. It is better for all concerned if they have come to some sort of understanding before the purchase agreement is signed that this particular home is the buyer’s best option.


Now as the parent of the buyer, it is a bit of a different ballgame. I get to educate the buyer while letting him make his own decision. So it is back to basics….


1.    Get pre-approved by a good, reputable loan officer to pre-approve prior to starting the home search.
2.    Make a list of target areas to live in. Understand how different municipalities and properties taxes can fluctuate greatly.
3.    Decide what features are “must haves” in a house. Educate on how to read an MLS listing for things like foundation type and size, heating source, and room sizes. Scan the photos for possible issues like asbestos siding, deteriorating driveway or gigantic trees to narrow down the "must see list".  Eliminate any home with an issue that might be a huge expense down the road. 
4.    Remember not to get too invested in a specific house until after the offer is accepted and the inspection is done. 


Putting my 20+ years of experience as a REALTOR® and homeowner to use to help a home buyer understand the basics is one of the services I provide. Not just to my family, but to all of my first time buyers.  


Helping this particular home buyer will be a bit more of an adventure. But like everything else, one step at a time.


Are you ready to buy YOUR First Home? Let me be your professional guide. If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me, Teri Eckholm of Boardman Realty, a call or visit my website for a FREE Home Buyer Success Guide or FREE Home Value Report. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District. Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota. 
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