Real estate: A guide for new homebuyers

Kaylin Culver
Re/Max real estate agents Kaylin Culver (left) and Jesse Schue.
Provided/Kaylin Culver

You’ve made the brave decision to enter the real estate market and purchase your own home. Congratulations! Buying a home is a huge milestone. Now that you’re ready to take the plunge, we wanted to provide you with some tips and tricks to make sure you have the best experience possible. Read on for our top advice for new homebuyers.

Get Pre-Approved for Your Mortgage

The process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan will give you an idea of your purchasing power and help you identify your budget range. When meeting with lenders, don’t be afraid to shop around for the best terms and interest rates. It’s also important to remember that pre-approval is not binding — the lender has not officially said yes yet — so keep that in mind when making offers on homes.

Know What You Need and What You Want

As you search for homes, make sure you have a clear idea of what features are essential (i.e., number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage) and which are more flexible (i.e., outdoor space, garage, amenities). This will help narrow down your search and ensure that you don’t waste time looking at homes that don’t meet your needs or wants.

Don’t Try to Time the Market

It can be tempting to try to time the market and wait for just the right moment to buy or sell, but this is rarely successful in practice. The real estate market is always changing, so it’s best to focus on finding the right home instead of trying to find one at just the right moment in time. I spoke with a lender in town Deanna Sorhouet with NEO Home Loans, and she gave some great insights on the market for those looking to hear what is happening in the mortgage world.

“The economy has been slowing in large part because of aggressive action taken by the Fed last year to try to tame runaway inflation, including seven hikes to its benchmark Fed Funds Rate. (This is the overnight borrowing rate for banks, and it is not the same as mortgage rates.) Raising the cost of borrowing on certain items slows the economy down and incentivizes savings rates, driving down demand and thus curbing inflation, which has begun to cool per recent reports.”

So, what does that mean exactly?

We are expecting to see rates continue to stabilize, but will we see the 2.875% that we saw in 2021? No. However, between home prices becoming more reasonable, and rates returning to a similar range that they were in 2018, you may be in a better position than you think. Less overall debt, similar mortgage payments, and the ability to find creative financing options through your lender.

Buying real estate doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but it is best to enter the market by being prepared, organized, and having a good Realtor by your side. By knowing what features are must-haves, getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan, and understanding that timing isn’t everything, buyers can navigate the real estate market with ease. So, if you’re thinking about buying a home soon, use these tips as a guide and happy house hunting.

Kaylin Culver is a Realtor for Re/Max Gold based in South Lake Tahoe. She is part of the Lake Tahoe Real Estate Team, led by Broker-Owner Jesse Schue.

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