Buying your first home is a momentous time in most people’s lives. Here are some tips for first time home buyers to help you sail through the experience.

Get a GOOD Realtor

I tell this to my clients all the time. You don’t want your friend who just started working as a realtor, or your aunt who does this part-time, to represent you in a purchase negotiation! Especially in a market as competitive as the one we have here in the Bay Area. You want an experienced agent who will work with you to create the most irresistible bid. And you’ll need the strongest financing package and the shortest close possible. 

I recommend Kerri Naslund-Monday

Talk to Your Accountant

One of the biggest barriers to first-time home ownership can be amassing a down payment. Did you know that, even if you are under 55, if you have money in an IRA account, you might be able to withdraw that cash — without penalty — for a down payment on your first home purchase? You may still have to pay taxes on that money, but you might be able to avoid the additional early-withdrawal fee.

Check with your personal CPA for details to find out if you qualify.

Get Pre-Approved

The terms pre-approved and pre-qualified are often used interchangeably but there is an important difference. If you are pre-approved, that means that the lender has seen documentation of your income and assets, and has performed a “hard check” to confirm your credit score and viability. 

Prequalifying is simply finding out what type of loan and what payments you might be eligible for, which might be useful if you are just starting to look. If you are only pre-qualified, that means that you have reported your income and asset information, but not provided documentation, nor had your credit checked. Therefore, in a purchase negotiation, pre-approval is a stronger position.

See Why Get Pre-Approved for more.

Write a Love Letter

As Kerri will tell you, passion can make the difference in a sale. Once you are looking your best, with a pre-approval letter from C2 Financial, let the seller know why, in your heart, their property is your dream home. If they see themselves in you, they may choose you over another buyer, even if that buyer has an all-cash offer.

Bid Sensibly

Most sellers will list their home 10-15% below market value, or more, in the hopes of receiving multiple bids. Your realtor will help you do your homework, looking at comparable property sales in the area, and considering the market in that neighborhood. You also want to calibrate your bid to what you can afford if the property does not appraise at the price you offer. Will you be able to increase your down payment to make up the difference? If you are considering a high-risk bid, we will look at how that could affect your loan terms. I may advise a loan contingency if needed.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Me

I give away free information — educational mortgage consultations at no cost to you.

I collect your information, I run your credit, and I help you get pre-approved, for free.

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