While the idea of buying a home may not be as terrifying as a room full of spiders or meeting your partner’s parents for the first time, it’s certainly a cause for concern for those who are thinking about taking the plunge. Thankfully, we enlisted the help of Trenton Hoggard, a CENTURY 21 agent at Wright-Pace Real Estate in Jonesboro, AR to help us debunk some well-known myths that can keep many of us from packing up that apartment for good.
IDENTIFYING THE FEAR
It’s no secret that buying a home comes with a number of fears and worries. The good news is that they are 100% common. Below are the major fears Hoggard often sees associated with buying a home. Don't worry; each fear comes with some advice on how to outmaneuver it.
Is this home a good deal?
If you find yourself questioning whether or not a house is a good deal, Hoggard says “trust that your realtor has done the research necessary to show you the value in a home and to help you see if it makes sense for you.” Keep an eye on similar homes in the area. If they’re in the same price range, sit back and breathe easy. If not, don’t be afraid to ask your realtor about the discrepancy. For more information on the home buying process, check out our start-to-finish guide to finding your dream home.
Is the area right for me?
In regards to location concerns, Hoggard recommends “visiting areas at different times of day” to gauge what sorts of activities occur. If you’re looking for a young and trendy community but all you see are strollers and minivans, take stock. This might not be the neighborhood for you. Additionally, if you want an insider’s opinion, take the advice of our Advanced Home Buying Q&A and knock on some doors! Longtime residents will likely have the answers you’re looking for about the area.
Can I really afford this?
One of the biggest home buying myths is that you have to make a 20% down payment right from the beginning. This is untrue?in fact, minimum down payments can sometimes be as low as 5%.1 Be sure to calculate what your monthly housing costs would be, because mortgage payments are often fairly comparable to what you already pay in rent. Hoggard recommends asking, “Is my job stable enough to be looking? What is a reasonable monthly budget that I would feel comfortable paying?” Everyone’s definitions of financial stability are different, so you are the only one who can truly answer this question. Consulting your realtor will help to assuage some of these hesitations, but if you’re still unsure, take a look at our article about home finances or use our mortgage calculator to clear up any lingering confusion.
Feel free to interview multiple agents until you find the right one.
OVERCOMING THE FEAR
So, now that your homeowner’s phobia has been alleviated, what’s next? Hoggard says the first step is “finding an agent you trust who’ll guide you every step of the way.” This does not have to be the first agent you meet. Feel free to interview multiple agents until you find the right one; take note of their behavior in the first meeting. The little things they do in the beginning often foreshadow your experience with them. For example, if they’re rushing you through the meeting, it’s likely they’ll rush you through the buying process. If they’re cutting you off mid-sentence, there’s a strong chance they’re not a good listener, and a good listener is key when it comes to helping you find a home. They should also have trusted partners (lenders, inspectors, etc.) to connect you with when you need them later on in the process. In the end, don’t feel pressured to commit to a realtor if you’re unsure. Finding the right agent is one of the most important steps in finding a home. If you take your time to find one that works for you, you’re setting yourself up for a much smoother ride.
Next, Hoggard advises making sure that purchasing a home makes sense for you. “The main question to ask is ‘How long will I be here?’” It’s also crucial to confirm that you are financially ready for both the payments and any unexpected repairs. Once you’ve done those things, get answers to any questions you might have before you start looking. “Any unanswered questions now could prevent you from getting the home you love later,” warns Hoggard.
Finally, go shopping! Hoggard recommends “getting a trusted app and website that you and your agent can use together to start finding homes to tour.” So, embrace the 21st century, and go forth with confidence. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”