Buying your first home is thrilling! Just ask the more than 1.8 million people who recently went through the whole process.
While home buying is certainly exciting, it can also be nerve-wracking for several reasons. Most people feel comfortable with the logistical steps it takes to get into a new home. But sometimes homebuyers forget that the real estate agents, lenders, and sellers are real people and make some social mistakes.
You don’t want to offend anyone or look silly while buying your first home, so follow our quick etiquette guide to make sure you do all the right things!
1. Get Pre-Approval First
Before you do anything else as a first-time homebuyer, you need to get pre-approval for a mortgage. This is a crucial step in the overall success of your house-hunting efforts.
Chances are that you’ll need a mortgage (a specific type of loan used to purchase property and buildings) in order to get the home you’re looking for. But what type and the limit of your mortgage will depend on a variety of factors. Those include your credit history, current debt amounts, and income.
Pre-approval shows you what you can afford and what the lender is willing to give you for a home. Once you know this you know what price range you can look in for your new home.
When buyers go into the process without pre-approval, it can slow the whole thing down for all the parties involved and be very frustrating.
2. Understand the Process
The key to having good home buying etiquette is to understand how the whole process works. Yes, every home buying situation is unique and sometimes there are outliers. But it’s important to know the general flow of buying a home so you know what to expect and don’t make the whole thing harder for everyone else involved.
For example, if you know how putting in offers works before you do it you’ll know that it can take some back and forth. Then you won’t be frustrated (or rude) when the seller counter-offers you.
Understanding the process doesn’t mean that you can’t ask your real estate agent or lending officer any questions. It just means that you have basic knowledge so that when you do ask questions you can fully understand the answers.
3. Let Your Agent Do the Talking
In the age of online home listings and real estate apps on our phones, it can be hard to not get too excited about a listing and contact the seller yourself. But this is actually a big mistake and can cause you many problems moving forward.
While it seems like a casual thing to go to an open-house or view a home, the reality is that buying a home is a legal action and should be taken very seriously. Even from the first viewing. Your best option is to work with your agent throughout the entire process to avoid any mishaps.
Your real estate agent may also have insider information about the home or the selling agent which can be used to your advantage. If you’re working with an agent, let them do their job.
4. Keep Open Lines of Communication
Along the same lines, it’s important to keep the lines of communication between you and your real estate agent as open as possible.
The more they know about what you’re looking for and your situation, the better they can help you find the right house and get the best deal. As you begin your search, make a list of needs and wants in your future home then give that to your agent for reference. It’s also a good idea to tell them what you do or don’t like about houses as you are looking through them.
Working with the right real estate agent can completely change how your first home buying experience goes. Keeping open communication will make it an even more positive experience for everyone involved.
5. Serious Inquiries Only
While it’s fun to dream and look at houses, you should really only begin to work with real estate agents and speak to sellers when you’re serious about purchasing.
The decision to sell a home is a big one and often the seller needs the home to sell quickly. Having potential buyers fall through because they weren’t actually serious about the purchase can be devastating. You wouldn’t want an actual potential buyer to move on to a different house because you were showing false interest.
Stick to looking at houses online or attending public open houses without an agent if you’re only browsing.
Just like the decision to sell is a big one, the decision to buy is just as big. So take into account all of the different factors to make an educated decision that’s best for you and your family.
6. Be Courteous
The most general rule of social interaction definitely applies to home buying and that’s to be courteous to those you’re dealing with.
One of the main things that sellers and real estate agents deal with on a regular basis is people not being on-time or completely bailing on appointments altogether. These people take the time to set up appointments, get the space ready, or put off other engagements to have the meeting with you. It’s incredibly important to try to keep these appointments as much as possible.
Also, remember that all aspects of home buying and selling can be stressful. Try to keep conversations professional and kind to make the experience a good one for all involved.
Home Buying Etiquette Rules to Follow
Deciding to buy your first home is a huge milestone in anyone’s life. And once you’ve made the decision and started the process, you want the whole thing to go as smoothly as possible.
When you follow this guide to home buying etiquette, you’re sure to have a great experience finding the right home for you!
If you’re ready to get the process started and find the right mortgage option for you, contact us today for a quote!