Dorrinda O’Keefe-Shea - CENTURY 21 Toomey-Lovett, Inc Centurian 2012 Top Producer Diamond Award


As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.

1. Make a Homebuying Checklist

The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.

With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.

Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.

Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.

For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.


Since there are so many things to keep in mind when searching for the right home, it can be very helpful to create a priority list. If you're at the beginning of the house-hunting process, one of the best ways to clarify your thoughts is by organizing them in a notebook or on a computer screen.

As is the case with creating any kind of plan, you need to start with the basics and then branch out from there. While a house-hunting plan can and should change as you proceed forward, once you start visiting listings, your insights will begin to deepen. If you happen to be working with an experienced real estate agent, they will help you refine your search and zero-in on listings that are the best match to your needs.

Although you probably already know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want, it may be time to come up with a more specific picture of what you're looking for, in terms of square footage, lot size, neighborhood walkability, and distance from neighbors.

As you revise your list of requirements, you may decide to rank the importance of items like a screened-in porch, a backyard patio, a wood-burning fireplace, yard size, the age of the house, and whether you'd like a finished basement or attic.

Many people prioritize the size, layout, and functionality of the kitchen, too, so take into consideration your decorating tastes, the size of your family -- both today and five years from now -- and how often you expect to be entertaining guests. Perusing kitchen layouts and remodeling ideas online can help you clarify the type of counters, flooring, appliances, and cabinets that would please you the most.

Other features that will determine your level of satisfaction with a new home may include the architectural style of the house, the quality of the school district, and various convenience factors, such as nearby grocery stores, public parks, and medical/dental services. Commuting time to your job or business can also have a huge impact on your lifestyle, as well as your weekly budget and personal stress level! When choosing a neighborhood in which you'll feel comfortable, you'll also want to pay attention to first impressions, the amount of traffic on the street, and miscellaneous noises you hear while visiting the neighborhood.

Above all, try to avoid making snap decisions based on emotional factors, time constraints, or the fear of not being able to find "anything better." Although there may be days in which the prospects seem slim, it's essential that you maintain a positive outlook and be confident that new listings and fresh possibilities are always cropping up. Working with a seasoned buyer's agent who's familiar with the local market and is responsive to your needs will also help immeasurably in your search for the perfect new home!


A homebuyer who considers the seller's perspective may be better equipped than others to enjoy a successful property buying experience. In fact, this buyer should have no trouble submitting a competitive offer to purchase – something that may lead to a fast home purchase.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you analyze the seller's perspective.

1. Review a Home Listing

A home listing provides a great opportunity to learn about a house. It also enables you to analyze how long a house has been available, a residence's features and other factors that may dictate your decision to pursue a residence.

Assess a home listing closely. If you believe your expectations fall in line with a seller's after reviewing a listing, you may want to consider setting up an in-person showing. Or, if you believe a home does not match expectations, you may want to continue to look for your dream house.

2. Check Out a House In-Person

If you find a home you may want to buy, it generally is a good idea to set up an in-person showing. At this point, you can see how a seller has maintained a house and determine if a home is right for you.

Typically, a real estate agent is ready to respond to a buyer's concerns and questions during a showing. This housing market professional may be able to provide insights into why a seller has listed his or her residence. And as a result, you can use these insights to make an informed decision about how to proceed with a house.

3. Understand the Local Housing Market

The local housing market fluctuates, and it may favor buyers or sellers. If you study the local real estate sector, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market – or vice-versa.

In a buyer's market, there may be an abundance of quality houses available at budget-friendly prices. On the other hand, in a seller's market, there may be a shortage of first-rate houses, and those that are available may be in high demand among buyers.

Keep in mind how a seller's perspective may vary based on the current housing market's conditions as well. If a buyer's market is in place, a seller may be ready to accept a competitive offer to purchase his or her residence. Conversely, in a seller's market, a seller may be reluctant to accept an offer to purchase that falls below his or her initial home asking price.

Lastly, as you get set to embark on the homebuying journey, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach you everything you need to know about buying a house. He or she can help you analyze the seller's perspective and make an informed home purchase too.

Ready to navigate the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can assess the seller's perspective and boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying experience.


Getting ready to buy a home is one of the most exciting times in life. The purchase of a home is one of the biggest financial decisions that you will ever make in your lifetime. When you make the decision to buy a home. There are a few key things that you need to do to be prepared for the process of a property purchase. It can be simple if you have the right preparation and knowledge.


Find The Right Realtor


A good realtor will steer you in the right direction when it comes to finding the home of your dreams. Your real estate agent also will help you each step of the way on the road to buying that home. There’s a lot of paperwork that must be done in a timely manner throughout the buying process. The right realtor can even help you to get the offer in for the right home in on time. In a competitive market, having a realtor who is on top of things can mean the difference between purchasing the home you want and letting it fall through the cracks.


Know That You’re Signing A Lot Of Legal Paperwork


The purchase of a home does involve a contract. If you need more time for anything such as reviewing your home inspection or waving certain contingencies, you’ll need to state that. Every piece of the transaction is important and needs to be formally processed when it comes to purchasing a home. Your realtor will be there to help you through all of these complicated processes. 


Think Of The Future


When you’re choosing a home, you’re not just buying for your life as it stands right now. Are you hoping to have a big family? Do you need a home office? How much entertaining are you planning on doing? All of these things are important when it comes to the type of home that you’ll buy. If you don’t plan for the future, you’ll outgrow the home that you’re in quite quickly. 


Look For Potential


See what potential the homes that you’re looking at have for you. Some homes may have major cosmetic issues that can easily be fixed. Perhaps The walls just need some fresh coast of paint. Maybe the deck needs to be stained. If you go into the house search with an open mind, it will be a lot easier for you to find the right home. You don’t need a home that is absolutely move-in-ready unless of course, you’re building a brand new home from scratch.


Know Your Finances


One of the most important things about buying a home is knowing your finances. Don’t buy a home that you can‘t afford. From looking at your own budget to getting pre-approved, you’ll be able to have a better understanding of your own financial situation and how much house you can afford.


Attending open houses is common for property buyers in cities and towns nationwide. However, there is no set number of open houses that a homebuyer will need to attend to discover his or her dream residence. In some instances, a buyer may find the ideal home after attending his or her first open house. Or, a buyer may attend dozens of open houses and fail to find a residence that matches his or her expectations.

As a homebuyer, it is important to do everything possible to make the most of an open house. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for an open house and ensure that you can maximize the value of this event.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for an open house.

1. Create a List of Home Questions

You may have learned about a home from a listing. Yet a listing only offers a limited amount of information about a residence. And if you have additional questions about a residence, an open house provides you with a great opportunity to receive responses to your queries.

Craft a list of questions before you attend an open house – you'll be glad you did. With this list in hand, you can ask questions about a home and gain the insights you need to help you decide whether a residence is right for you.

2. Perform Research

Try to collect as much information as you can about a home prior to an open house. That way, you can have a good idea about what to expect when you attend this event.

Also, you may want to put together a game plan before an open house. This plan allows you to prioritize different areas of a residence that you want to check out. Plus, it may help you conduct an in-depth review of a residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is happy to help you plan ahead for any open house. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you conduct your house search.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open house events in your preferred cities and towns. This housing market professional can attend an open house with you and offer immediate feedback as well. In addition, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a residence after an open house, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

Let's not forget about the expert housing market insights that a real estate agent can provide, either. A real estate agent can offer insights into housing market patterns and trends. By doing so, a real estate agent can help you narrow your home search and ensure that you can find a great house at a budget-friendly price.

Ready to attend an open house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can attend an open house and learn about all aspects of a residence.




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