By: Brian W. Brady
The minute you begin to even consider purchasing your first home you become inundated with information. A quick Google search will yield mountains of information, articles, advertisements and websites directed at the first time homebuyer market. Your friends, family, peers, coworkers and even complete strangers will bombard you with advice, opinions, directions and horror stories, whether you asked for their input or not.
The majority of this advice and information comes from a sincere desire to help you through your first home buying process; and rightfully so! For the vast majority of the population, the purchase of a home will be your single largest investment. The process of purchasing a home can be daunting and even stressful at times, but it can also be a very fun and pleasant experience.
While all of the available information to first time homebuyers does have its place, there are also a few other things to consider when filtering through it. Every state is different with regard to the laws, customs, practices and processes for buying a home. On top of that, different regions and areas of your state may have subtle differences in how business is conducted. So it is important to keep in mind that all of this information will rarely be exactly on point or apply precisely to your particular purchase.
Through a series of articles, I will be covering a few practical tips for the first time homebuyer in North Carolina, specifically in the Triangle area. As a real estate closing attorney, this information will come from the perspective of one who has been involved in countless real estate transactions and has witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly of the home buying process.
In order to minimize stress and have a pleasant first time home buying experience, I believe there are three key things you should keep in mind and resort back to if you begin to experience feelings of uncertainty, frustration or stress during your purchase: Understanding, Trust, and Patience.
The Importance of Understanding
Most first time homebuyers, and even seasoned veterans, are often surprised to learn that, on average, there are anywhere from 85 to 100+ people involved in a real estate transaction from start to finish. This includes the buyers, the sellers, their agents and administrative staff, loan officers, loan processors, underwriters, closers, surveyors, inspectors, appraisers, pest control professionals, tradesmen and contractors, attorneys, paralegals, title insurance professionals, and so on.
When you consider the large number of people involved and all of the working parts, it is easy to understand that coordinating everything and everyone can be a complicated process. This is not to say that it is an impossible task or that you should expect that things will go wrong. But, it is important to understand that the purchase of a home is not just picking out a property, making an offer and signing the paperwork. There is a lot going on and a lot of people are involved, all with the common goal of getting you in your new home.
The more people involved in anything will generally increase the odds that something might not go as planned. This is not a groundbreaking thought and, again, I am not saying you should expect or anticipate headaches or setbacks. But, it is crucial that you understand that the purchase of a home is much more involved and complicated than buying a loaf of bread so that you can manage your expectations accordingly.
The Importance of Trust
The importance of trust cannot be overstated. Trust is the key to navigating through the barrage of advice and information you will encounter as a first time homebuyer.
Trust begins with your Realtor. You have chosen to work with your agent for a reason, you trust this person. Your Realtor is a licensed professional who is involved in the home buying process everyday and is experienced in the business. If you do not have trust in your agent, then you are likely working with the wrong person. You wouldn’t go to a Dentist for a root canal if you didn’t trust him or her. To take it a step further, you wouldn’t go to a Dentist for a root canal and then critique them as they work, or question their ability because you read a few articles on the internet. I am sure you can find instructions on the internet that tell you how to perform your own root canal in your kitchen, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea and it doesn’t make you an expert. The same applies with your Realtor.
You should trust that the professionals your agent may recommend are also trustworthy and will do an outstanding job. A Realtor does not gain repeat business by making bad recommendations or referrals, so you can be sure that your agent has complete confidence in whomever they recommend to help you. Of course, there is nothing wrong with making your own choices. It is completely understandable to want to ask other professionals you may know to help you and there is nothing wrong with that. However, keep in mind that your agent is recommending professionals that he or she has worked with many times and they trust them to take excellent care of you. The same usually cannot be said for the loan officer you’ve decided to go with because she is married to one of your friends from college and you want to give that person your business. Trust your Realtor and their recommendations. If you don’t, then why bother?
The Importance of Patience
For many of us in the real estate business, a large part of our job is managing expectations. Patience is usually the first thing to go in any complicated and potentially stressful situation where there is a large amount of money involved. However, I have noticed that the loss of patience seems to come much quicker when you don’t understand everything at play or what is involved in the process. The home buying process is an excellent example of such a situation.
Have you ever had a moment where you lost your patience and temper only to find out there was a good reason for the delay or inconvenience and if you had known the whole story you wouldn’t have said a word? This usually ends with slinking away with your tail tucked.
This all goes back to the importance of understanding. Unless you are going to make a career in the real estate business, you do not need to become an expert in every facet of the home buying process. That is the reason why you are hiring professionals to help you. But, as with any other major purchase or life changing decision, you should educate yourself about the process and everything at play. You have chosen a large group of people to help you through this process. You should trust and rely on them. You should ask them questions and educate yourself about the process. It is much easier to be patient and calm when you hear that there is a delay in the underwriting of your loan when you already know what is involved in the loan process. Losing your patience does little to make your transaction go quicker.
If you understand what is involved in purchasing a home, trust your professionals to help you and stay patient with everyone working to get you in your knew home, you are well on your way to an exciting and enjoyable purchase.
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