Online Originals: Tips for first-time homebuyers

Online Originals

Eastern North Carolina as a whole has been growing rapidly for years.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) released a list of tips for first-time homebuyers to make sure they’re finding a good home.

According to a press release by the BBB you have to be strategic when buying a home.

Here are some of their tips:

  • Get Pre-Approved: The BBB says this is not required, but it lets sellers know you’re serious and ready to buy. There is a difference between being pre-approved and pre-qualified. Being pre-qualified simply means you’ve been initially screened by a lender, but a mortgage pre-approval takes the preliminary loan process a step further, by collecting additional financial information such as a credit report and other documents that will be required to complete the actual loan process, such as your tax returns and bank statements. This will prove that you already have backing to go through with the sale, which can make owners more confident and comfortable accepting your bid.
  •  Find the Right Professional: Make sure you find a real estate agent with knowledge of the area, connections, and references. The BBB says any real estate agent can help you scan listings and set up home viewings, but it’s important to do your research before deciding on an agent.
  • Ask agents for a list of previous clients: A reputable professional should happily provide you with this information. Ensure the realtor has a very good reputation. The BBB says to check their ratings on BBB and view any complaints and respond to complaints. Attend open houses hosted by the agent to see if you connect with them and to observe their approach.
  • Ask about fees or commissions: Some agents can charge as much as 10% commission which could deter some homeowners. Find out if your potential agent is a member of associations such as the National Association of Realtors. Make sure the agent is properly licensed and/or certified. 
  • Be Ready: Once you decide you want to buy a home, don’t drag your feet. In a seller’s market, homes can be snatched up quickly. This doesn’t mean that you should rush into a bid when you aren’t sure, but hedging on an offer, or waiting too long to set up a second viewing, could mean losing your dream home.
  • Put Your Best Foot Forward: According to the BBB, when buying a home, it’s not the time to send a “low-ball” offer as you might not get the chance to negotiate and bargain. It is likely that several others are submitting offers on the same home so you may get only one opportunity to bid. Offer your best price the first time.  Another tactic you might want to consider is writing a personal letter to the owners. Even though most owners are looking for the best price, most have a sentimental connection to their home and want to see it go to a person or family who will love it as they have. It doesn’t always work, but it doesn’t hurt to tell the owners what you specifically love about their home and neighborhood and why it’s perfect for your family.

Greenville market:

Greenville is a popular housing market because of ECU and Vidant, but according to a local realtor, Katie Holloman Sneed, inventory is very low right now.

“So what’s happening for the first time in our market, which has been what’s happening in markets like Raleigh, is there are 10 or 12 or 15 buyers all kind of wanting the same type of house,” said Holloman Sneed. “Homes especially under $200,000 or $150,000, there are so few, so when something does come on the market, it’s selling immediately. Multiple offers over asking.”

Holloman stressed the BBB’s tip about not low-balling an offer.

“It’s very typical right now for first time home buyers to go find a house they love, lose it, find another one, lose it and then they finally learn hey, look, if I really want this, I have to go in pretty hot and then they finally do get that house,” said Holloman Sneed.

She also touched on the importance of finding a trustworthy real estate agent with integrity.

“I think it matters about the relationship,” said Holloman Sneed. “If you talk to someone and you’re comfortable with them and you trust them and you feel like they have integrity — that mixed with a little bit of knowledge and their resources.”

With Greenville’s growth, it is a popular place for first-time buyers.

Holloman Sneed said about 50% of her buyers are first-time home buyers.

“I’m from Greenville so it been really cool to watch it grow,” said Holloman Sneed. “I’m excited to be a part of it for it to continue to grow.”

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