Houston real estate expert shares 5 tips for first-time buyers
As virtually everyone living in Houston now knows, this real estate market is one of the hottest in the country.
n what has been described as a ‘buy-in’, homes are for sale all over the area, which could lead tenants to think it’s time to jump up the property ladder.
Not so fast.
First-time buyers are faced with real pitfalls. Jeremiah Jackson, Houston Market Retail Sales Manager for Orchard Real Estate Powerhouse, shares advice on common mistakes to avoid when buying that first home with CultureMap.
“Get informed and educate yourself early,” Jackson told CultureMap.
It might sound obvious, but financing is the foundation of the home buying experience. Knowing what a bank will approve, how a buyer’s savings align with other financing options, and where to go to see what’s available will save you countless headaches down the road.
“Develop a relationship with a mortgage broker and let them educate you on the types of products,” he says. “A broker actually brokers at a bunch of different companies so they can get the best rates. They can check out all the programs that are up to date and they can help educate you. I would also say, do some research. ‘self-paced, too, online. You can go to the FHA website and find out more about the types of loans they pay off. “
Having financing in place allows buyers to better understand what they can and cannot afford, which helps them target their options.
Understanding the market
Jackson says one of the biggest mistakes he’s seeing first-time buyers making right now is that they misunderstand Houston’s current real estate market.
“The current situation is that 34 percent of homes are selling for current price or above,” he says. “So if you want to bid on a house, you have to be aware that there is no deal right now, to put it bluntly. That is, we are going strong and we are going. high, and we pay most if not all of the closing costs to get a good property. “
This isn’t just true for Houston, he notes. It’s the same across the country. The housing inventory is simply declining, which means that there are not enough houses for the people who want to buy them. And while Houston has a slightly larger inventory than other cities, Jackson says the available housing stock is scary here, too.
“Combine that with interest rates so low, that’s just the way the market is right now. It’s the craziest for about 30 years, ”he says.
This means that buyers should expect to pay more for homes, whether they are resale homes or new construction. Jackson says his company works with buyers so they have some leeway in making an offer.
“We look at their funding, their pre-approval, their budget, and we start at the bottom. If you have an approval for $ 400,000, that’s your maximum. So we’re going to look at the houses in the $ 320, the $ 330, so you have that benefit and we can hit that maximum amount if necessary. “
Get the right real estate agent
Many buyers may not realize that the right real estate agent can make all the difference. Jackson advises first-time buyers not to be afraid to interview several before deciding which is best for them.
Buying a home can be a stressful experience, and a real estate agent who can guide buyers through it can reduce anxiety moments ahead. He says buyers need to be careful how they click with an agent because personality matters a lot.
If a buyer’s style is a big deal, they might not want a realtor who looks super laid back. Likewise, if a buyer wants a lot of grip, a real estate agent who seems cool and aloof might not be a good fit. And don’t be afraid, he says, to set expectations early in the process.
“[You can say] “Here are our expectations in terms of communication,” “he suggests.” “We have asked a question and we need an answer within 15 minutes.”
Knowledge of the neighborhood is crucial
Another important factor in finding the right agent is finding one who specializes in a specific neighborhood. Houston is obviously a large metropolitan area, and Houstonians know there is a huge difference between Clear Lake and Garden Oaks.
Jackson says it’s essential to have a real estate agent who understands the neighborhood, as he or she will not only know the homes currently for sale, but also know the history of the area in terms of the amounts sold, as well as the location. neighborhood growth or changed over time.
Knowledge of the neighborhood is also helpful in terms of restaurants, grocery stores, or other amenities. Much of this can be found in an online search, but a real estate agent connected to the community will have real-life examples that will help buyers visualize themselves in a certain geographic area.
Homework, homework, homework
Many home buyers, especially first-time home buyers, might be overwhelmed by the process. And while a great real estate agent can help, Jackson wants buyers to know they have responsibilities, too.
“Be easy to work with as a buyer,” he says. “Have your essentials, but just be easy to work with and understand that there will be concessions both ways instead of taking a hard line. Because when you take a hard line and don’t want to give, that’s fine. translate by telling the listing agent, “I don’t know if we’re going to close because these guys are unreasonable.” “
He recommends that buyers have conversations, whether as a family, as a couple, or as a spouse, about what they want in a home at the start of the buying process.
Some new home buyers, he says, aren’t sure what they’re looking for. This is where they can use the right agent they’ve chosen to walk them through what they really want out of a home, neighborhood, and their must-have list versus nice-to-. have in their new home.