Buying your first home can be terrifying — yes, it’s exciting, but you certainly don’t want to make a mistake when buying a home. That could potentially follow you around on a financial level for the rest of your life. Right now, there are a lot of people buying houses for the first time — 2016 saw first-time buyers make up 35% of all home buyers, and in fact 66% of buyers 36 years old and younger were buying for the first time. Of course, if you’re buying a home for the first time, you could find a real estate agent. While buying a home can be done without a real estate agent, about 88% of all buyers bought their home through an agent, and with good reason. With about 2 million licensed real estate agents working in the U.S. as of 2016 — according to the National Association of realtors — there are plenty to choose from, and many of them specialize in different markets. Real estate agents shouldn’t only be consulted if you’re looking to buy a home, either. Many real estate agents can help you find home rentals as well. Yet even working with a realtor can be confusing for first time home buyers, and you certainly want to work with the right real estate agents for your specific needs. Below, we’ll look into some questions you should ask your real estate agent, whether you’re buying for the first time or renting.
1. What’s The CMA For My Area?
First off, it’s completely understandable if you don’t know what a CMA is — but once you do, you should definitely as your real estate agent for one. CMA stands for comparative market analysis, and it essentially is a listing of homes in your area that are for sale or were recently for sale. A CMA is helpful to sellers and buyers alike, as it lets you know what to expect from the prices in your area. If you’re buying, it gives you an idea of whether or not your budget is realistic in comparison to what you want out of a home — and if you can, whether you should raise it, or even lower it for that matter. This helps you identify homes that are overpriced, and gives you the upper hand when negotiating with a seller.
2. What Are The Unique Features Of My Area?
It’s important to think not simply about the house you want to buy, but the area you’re buying into. Even if you’ve lived in a town all your life, you might be less familiar with the specific details of a place and which areas are more desirable than others. For that matter, realtors will be able to advise you on details specific to you — for example, if you have children or plan on having them in the future, a realtor should be familiar with the best school districts in your area. Your home is an investment, and thus you want to buy into the best market possible, keeping in mind the future. If you take the advice of an experience realtor, you’ll buy into a growing area and perhaps even end up with a home that will sell for a profit in the future.
3. What Do I Need To Change About The Home I’m Buying?
There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to different types of homes — and you may very well want a home that needs a bit of “TLC”. There are great benefits to getting a deal on a home, renovating it, and making it exactly what you want for a cheaper price — for that matter, many people find that they can make a profit on their home in the future using this strategy. With that being said, you should ask your realtor’s advice on what realistic renovations you’ll need to consider, and for that matter how much they’ll cost. This will make your expectations more realistic.