Entering the real estate market for the first time is not for the faint of heart. You have to be willing to get out there and look for a real estate agent, be able to put the time into looking at property after property, and the wisdom to know when a house is right for you and when it isn't. If you're a nervous first time home buyer, let us give you our best advice that will hopefully ensure your home search process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Hire an Agent
Buying property is not something you want to do alone, especially if it's your first time. For the buyer, the services of a real estate broker or agent are free (their commission comes from the seller's end) so there's no reason not to have one. Agents know their way around the market. They know what a reasonable price sounds like, how to look beneath the surface in a home, and how to negotiate with buyers.
It Doesn't Hurt to Look
Once you hire your agent, take their advice. If you're dead set against buying one story homes for sale and your agent wants to take you to see a property in anyway, go for it! It doesn't hurt to look, and the agent probably has a good reason for showing you the property. Perhaps it's in a neighborhood you would like or has a rare feature you asked the agent to keep an eye out for.
Heart and Head
When you're touring brand new homes it's easy to get carried away and fall in love with the shiny new hardwood floors or the gorgeous solarium. However, choosing a home should be a balance between how you feel about the property and the practical considerations of you actually buying it and living there. Before you make any offers, view the property at least twice - once for feel and once with your thinking cap on.
Stay on Budget
Think very carefully before purchasing any real estate that is above your projected budget. You should have 20% of the purchase price already in the bank and your mortgage payments should never be more than 30% of your income. But don't spend all the money in your account - there's still emergencies, car payments, taxes, and other things to think about.