Today people first turn to online search engines like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com to begin their home search. While these are great tools to help aid you in finding available properties, they may not be the only place to look for your first home. In a world where information is readily at our finger tips, it’s easy to spend countless hours navigating through it all and deciding which is the best and most informative. When it comes to buying your first home in the Bay Area, and in particular Marin, there is an easier and more effective way to begin your search.
There is no substitute for the skill, service and experience a local buyers’ agent brings to this process. Not only do local realtors have a true sense of what the local market trends are, they use resources not available the general public that are far more reliable than the usual suspects. From finding off market properties through their private agent networks, having the inside scoop of upcoming listing, access to pocket listings, and being resourceful and knowing where to search beyond the usual places to find hidden opportunity. Understanding the current local market trends and considering the seasonality of the market as an indicator of how to strategically create a winning offer are not things data and search engines can provide. These overlooked sources are true opportunities for the first time buyer who needs every advantage to compete in the current market. My approach to working for my buyers is to think outside the box, and as a true buyer’s agent, I go well beyond basic inventory searches.
So what is the best strategy to sourcing and successfully buying our first home? Establishing clear expectations and understanding affordability are key components that I work with hand in hand with my clients. Each and every buyer has a different view of what is most important to them and working with buyers to find a property that checks the boxes and that they can afford is at the core of the process. While preapproval is now the norm as a first step in the process and will save you time, I take the extra step to work with my clients to get them underwritten when possible. Which for first time home buyers, means our offers are not only very competitive but we are able to offer contract terms that push their offer to the top of the pile.
One common myth that often hurts people in their home buying search, particularly in first time buyer forum, is that they feel having several agents looking on their behalf increases the chances of finding that perfect home. This approach almost always results in unsuccessful relationships and diluted service. So much of what makes the process successful is having the trust that your agent is out there doing all they can for you and that they are committed and dedicated to seeing you through the process. Since having an agent does not cost the buyer a thing, it’s hard to imagine a reason why you would not take advantage of this amazing resource that can truly transform the process into a successful and exciting experience.
For first time home buyers—or buyers that are new to this ever changing market—attending a seminar that is customized to address the needs of home buyers is the best way to understand the process and more importantly, how to be successful in this competitive market. If you are looking to make the jump and buy your first time home or if you are new to this every changing market, I encourage you to attend my next First Time Homebuyer Seminar on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at McGuire’s Marina District Office located at 2001 Lombard Street in San Francisco.