Weichert, Realtors(R) Provides Gameplan for First-Time Home Buyers in Opportune Market
May 07, 2008 // Franchising.com // MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. – Today's buyer's market offers a tremendous opportunity for those wishing to become a homeowner for the first time. Home prices are extremely affordable, there are plenty of homes to choose from and interest rates remain historically low.
When you consider the fact that first-time buyers can take full advantage of the cost savings offered by today's affordable prices, it's no wonder more than 2.5 million people bought a home for the first time in 2007, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Still, while it must have been clear to so many that the current market offered a great time to realize their dream of owning a home, most probably had the same initial question: "Where do I start?"
Weichert, Realtors, one of the nation's largest privately held real estate companies, offers several steps first-time homebuyers can take to get the ball rolling:
- Location, Location, Location - The best place to start is by creating a list of the towns or specific communities where you would like to live. Take in to account factors such as your commute, proximity to family, as well as the amenities and activities available in each location. If you aren't familiar with a location, consider purchasing an area map or take a "Sunday drive" to get a feel for the town.
- "Windows" Shop – NAR reported that 87 percent of first-time buyers used the Internet during their search in 2007. Start by looking online to get an idea of what types of homes and features appeal to you. Would you like a townhouse or a single family home? Do you prefer a ranch over a split-level? Do you want a home with a brick exterior or siding? Getting a sense of the variety of options available and what you are interested in will help simplify your search later on.
- Determine What You Can Afford - Once you have an idea of where you wish to live and the features you like, the next course of action should be to figure out your price range. Many real estate Web sites such as Weichert.com offer "affordability and payment calculators" to give you a general sense of what you could afford. For a thorough analysis, however, first-time buyers should sit down with a mortgage professional, such as a Gold Services Manager from Weichert Financial Services, to determine exactly how much they will be approved to borrow from a lender.
- Real Estate 101 – Before going out and seeing homes, many people find it reassuring to get familiar with the overall real estate process. There are a number of great books, as well as countless online resources, that offer a good overview, First time buyers might also consider attending a home buyer seminar to learn more. Weichert, Realtors offers a free seminar designed specifically for first-time buyers each month in all of its company-owned offices.
- Finding the Right Agent – Now that you have a general understanding of real estate and what you are looking for, it's time to find a professional who can show you properties that meet your specific needs. The sales associate you select can also continue to educate you on the overall real estate process and provide you with valuable information on the local market.
To get in touch with a Weichert neighborhood specialist who can assist in their home search, first-time buyers can call Weichert's customer service center at 1-800-USA-SOLD.
Weichert has nearly 18,000 sales associates in more than 500 company-owned and franchised sales offices in key markets throughout the U.S. A family of full-service real estate and financial services companies, Weichert helps customers buy and sell both residential and commercial real estate, and streamlines the delivery of mortgages and home and title insurance. For more information, Weichert's customer service center can be reached at 1-800-USA-SOLD or at Weichert's Web site, www.weichert.com. Each Weichert franchised office is independently owned and operated.