Hampton Roads Real Estate and Community News

Oct. 27, 2017

The Third Step for a First Time Home Buyer

3rd Step for a First Time Home Buyer

Step 3

In our previous blogs, we have discussed the first 2 steps in the home buying process when you are a first time home buyer.  Step 1 is to select a really good realtor.  And Step 2 is to get Pre-qualified with a lender. 

Step 3 is done in concert with Step 2 and that is to find a good lender.

Not All Lenders are created equal

Lenders are like real estate agents in many ways.  There are hundreds of them out there but that doesn't mean that they are all created equal.  Most first time buyers will get hung up on “what kind of rate can the lender give me.”  And while that is important, there is a lot more to the story.

For example, in a competitive market, like we are in currently here in Hampton Roads, a good listing agent (which is the agent that represents the seller) will take into consideration who the lender is that the buyer is using.  AND there are certain lenders that historically have been slower than others in getting loans closed.  At the end of the day, that is the aspect or factor that is most important to a seller and ultimately, a buyer.  Can the lender get the loan closed and in a timely fashion?

Buyers should use a local lender

Another factor to consider when buying a home is that a buyer is going to want to use a local lender.  There are a few lenders with instant name brand recognition and who tout fantastic interest rates.  BUT they are based several states away.  My experience has been that at some point in the home buying process, there will be times where you will need answers to problems in a time sensitive manner.  However, if the buyer is dealing with a loan officer who is not local, I have found it can be challenging for a loan to get closed within the normal 30 day window.

OVM Financial

To this point, my team likes to recommend using OVM Financial.  While you are free to use whichever lender you’re most comfortable with, we have found them to be trustworthy, knowledgeable and readily available.  In fact, there have been many times when I or someone on my team has had a question after business hours and the folks at OVM have given us their mobile numbers (not sure if they are still happy about that!  Just kidding) and we are able to get our clients the answers they need in a very efficient manner.  I tell my first time home buyers and other clients that I have OVM on the “Bat Phone.” :)

The other thing that I tell my first time home buyers is that we always want to control as much of the situation as possible and not let the situation control us.  There are many pitfalls and obstacles that can come up for even the most seasoned of buyers. 9 times out of 10, those obstacles have to deal with the loan.  So why would we want to jeopardize the ability of the buyer to close on their home simply because the out of town lender quoted them what seems to be a good interest rate?

Speaking of good interest rates, the other thing is this; once you pull the curtain back on the interest rate that is being proposed, there are usually some fees and other settlement expenses that have probably not been factored into the initial quoted rate.  This is why I always encourage my clients and first time home buyers to shop around AND to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.  The good folks at OVM will take the time to walk through the proposed rate and go over the ins and outs of the loan to make sure that the buyer fully understands what is being offered.

Well that wraps it up for this week.  Please be on the lookout for our next blog as we continue to go through the home buying process.

Sept. 23, 2017

The Second Step for a First Time Home Buyer

In our last blog, we discussed that the First Step for a First Time Home Buyer is to select a really good real estate agent.

2nd Step for a first time home buyer

And the very next step for a first time home buyer is to get pre-qualified with a lender.  And what that means is for the buyer to meet with a good lender and figure out exactly how much home the buyer can afford but maybe more importantly, figure out how much of a monthly mortgage payment the buyer is comfortable with.


Once a buyer does this, then the buyer can be strategic and intentional with their home search.  It will allow the buyer to narrow down the number of homes they are going to view.  And it will also allow the real estate agent who is helping them with their search to have a more narrow focus as well.


Too many times, a first time buyer will start looking at homes on line BEFORE they even know how much home they can afford.  And I have seen it happen many times, where a buyer will start out looking in a certain price range, then get interested in a home and want to put in a contract.  And then the buyer will meet with a lender only to find out that they can't afford the home OR they have some credit repair to do before they could move forward on the home.


And speaking of credit repair, so many buyers want to buy a home but for whatever reason, their credit situation is not the best.  And the first time home buyer knows their credit situation is not the best BUT they don't want any one else to know their credit situation is not the best.


HOWEVER, the problem with that philosophy is that UNTIL you find out exactly where you are at, how then are you supposed to put together a plan of attack to get to where you want to be?  Your credit score will not magically go up on its own.  Your judgements will not be removed from your file by chance.


No, a first time home buyer has to have a plan to succeed.  Maybe it takes 90 days to be ready to move forward.  Or maybe it takes 6 months to a year to move forward.  But until you rip off the band aid, your wound will never heal.  Right?


So to summarize, first time home buyers, once you have selected a good real estate agent, ask your agent for a recommendation on a lender to get pre-qualified.  And i would encourage all first time home buyers to shop around.


Well that is it for today.  Next time we will discuss the importance of selecting a good lender.

Sept. 16, 2017

The First Step for a First Time Home Buyer


As the saying has been for as long as most of us can remember, being an American is about baseball, apple pie and the house with the picket fence and 2 cars in the driveway.  Now watching baseball and eating apple pie are not hard things to achieve.  But owning a piece of the American dream is a little bit more challenging, especially when you are buying a home for the first time

Although the government and the mortgage / financial sector have gone to great lengths to make the process of buying your first home easier than in the past, there are still many pitfalls that can befall a first time home buyer.

And that is why i think that Step 1 when you are buying a home for the first time is for the buyer to select a qualified and experienced realtor to help him or her to navigate thru the ups and downs and ebbs and flows of buying a home.  Many have discounted the value of a good real estate agent and as a real estate agent myself, i think we in the industry have to unfortunately share some of that blame.  As with any other industry, there are good agents and bad agents.  

But data tells us that many times a first time home buyer will select the first agent that they come across.  OR worse yet, choose to have no representation and deal directly with the seller of the home or that seller's agent.


Now let's be honest here.  While buying a home is not the same thing as performing surgery, Buying your first home can be an intimidating process.  And for most folks, it will be the biggest financial investment that they will ever make.

So the key for first time home buyers is to be well informed and educated on the home buying process.  Questions need to be answered like how much out of pocket money will I need to buy a house?  will I need a home inspection?  Who pays for the home inspection?  How do I know how much home I can afford?

Often times first time home buyers can get overwhelmed with the home buying process and give up before even getting started.  And that is why I go back to my original point.  The first step and the most important step in buying a home is not to talk with a lender, not to figure out which neighborhood you want to live in, not to decide if you want 3 bedrooms or 4 bedrooms.  


No the first step is to find a good real estate agent.  Because that real estate agent will be your coach / teacher / mentor / counselor throughout this process.  So it had better be someone that you have vetted and feel confident enough to put your trust in him or her.  As I mentioned before, buying a home is a major investment.  And choosing the wrong person to help guide you through the home buying process could cost you NOT just thousands of dollars at the closing of the home BUT tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a 30 year loan.

Well that's it for today.  In my next blog, we will discuss how a first time home buyer should go about selecting a real estate agent.

Posted in Buying a Home
July 31, 2017

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