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Notes To A First Time Homebuyer

Katie Moe  |  January 6, 2023


Notes To A First Time Homebuyer

So we all survived the “pandemic years” and you are now thinking of buying your first home. Congratulations! Now what!!??!! Where do you go from here?! Download a real estate app? Start going to Open Houses? Are rates going up? Is the real estate market going down? How DO I get a loan? How do I….


How can something be so overwhelming, stressful and super exciting at the same time? Buying your first property is one of the most important decisions you will make, on your own or with a partner. As a local Pleasanton Realtor I have been honored and humbled to walk many first time buyers through this process. And I have to say that it has become *quite possibly* the best part of my job. Handing over keys to first time homeowners, is everything you think it would be. And my goal is to share some information and a little advice that I have learned over the years of working with this incredible group of buyers.


1 - Talk to a mortgage broker. No, like NOW. Stop what you are doing. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. As you prepare for this, a mortgage professional will help guide you with the many (many) different loan options. Start with how much you want to afford each month. Stop and read that again. What is your monthly budget? How much of a mortgage are you willing to add to that budget to still enjoy the life you have and/or want to have? Start there and then once you have discussions with a mortgage professional, let them inform you on the different loan options that can work with your goals. In Pleasanton and surrounding real estate markets, you can not write an offer on a house until you have a letter from a lender...so this really is the first step.


2 - Think of this house as a stepping stone. You are purchasing a home to live in, yes. But this first purchase is the one that will help you make your next purchase. So, be intentional about what you buy. You have to think as a buyer AND a seller. What will attract buyers to this house when you get to sell it in 8-12 years? Consider the upside potential of your purchase, is there room for improvement that will increase your equity in the home? Are you willing to commit to making those improvements over time? Yes, this is your home...but someday YOU will get to pass it along to the next lucky owner. 


3 - Be patient. The last 2-3 years we saw some WHACKY and insane things happen in our real estate market. In local areas prices rose exponentially and the competition to “get” a house was insane. That treadmill was one that we all were happy to get off of and return to what is now more of a normal market. Rates have also increased making homeownership even more challenging for some…but I encourage you to lean on your team. Learn about different financing options from your mortgage partner. Take the time to learn about the community you wish to buy. Talk to your local real estate professional…a LOT…to understand the paperwork, protections and processes that come with buying a home. All of this will make you a more informed buyer, so when the right one does come along…you will be ready to go! 


4 - Research, research, research!! This is a pretty big topic as you are not only buying a place to sleep at night. You are buying where you take your morning walk, where you invite your friends over for an ugly holiday sweater party, where you grill in the backyard, where you might have a home office or start a family. I feel so fortunate to be able to work where I live in Pleasanton. I am so proud of the communities that surround our home, it is part of why my husband and I chose to live here. Our “home” is so much more than our address. If there is something that is really important do how you live your life take the time to do the research to make sure that home or neighborhood satisfies that for you. If you take Bart to work and want to walk to the station...practice that walking/bus route to make sure it works for you. If you like to do sunset yoga, ask your agent to see the house at sunset hour to make sure it works for you. This is YOUR HOME...never be afraid to do your research and make sure that the community and surroundings fit your life.


5 - Find the right agent for you. This one goes without saying. Obviously, I am biased on the role an agent plays in this transaction. But I think it is critical on every level. There are many agents out there...truly someone for everyone. So, find the one that fits you. Meet agents who have passion for helping people and solving problems. The most happy and successful agents are the ones who truly care and build relationships with their clients. They are leading you through this process that is crazy at times, but the right agent will shoulder the stress and always have your best interest at heart. You should never question that, ever. So, talk to friends you trust, get some names and meet people. Find the one that works for you! 


In all honesty, there are at least 10 more things I could address in a conversation with first time home buyers who are just starting a search...but I think I have exceeded the word count for this blog. With regards to all of the above items, it comes down to two things (from my perspective)...building a great team. Who is your team? Well, it’s us. Your Realtor and your mortgage professional. We are the co-pilots on this journey, you are taking. It is my job to protect you and inform you at every step of the process, from finding the home, developing a strategic offer, negotiating where needed to eventually signing title papers!. And I work hand-in-hand with your mortgage professional to ensure that they have what they need to make sure that loan funds when it is supposed to. Together we will lead you through all of it...and when you receive the keys we will be there. 

If you or someone you know is looking to start talking about purchasing a home, feel free to contact me, Katie Moe, Top Pleasanton Realtor! Connect with me at katie@connectcahomes.com or 925-216-9083. I am always up for a cup or coffee or drink to answer any questions.

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