First-Time Home Buyers

If you are a first-time home buyer, use this "guide" below for helpful hints and tips and learn how to avoid common mistakes when buying your first home in the Santa Barbara area.

  • Pre-Qualification: Meet with a mortgage broker/lender and find out how much you can afford to pay for a home.
  • Pre-Approval: While knowing how much you can afford is the first step, sellers will be much more receptive to potential buyers who have been Pre-Approved. You'll also avoid being disappointed when going after homes that end up being out of your price range. With a Pre-Approval, the buyer actually applies for a mortgage and receives a commitment in writing from a lender. This way, assuming the home you're interested in is at or under the amount you qualify for, the seller knows immediately that you are a serious buyer for that property.  Please feel free to call and I can give you a list of recommended local lenders.
  • List Of Needs & Wants: Make 2 lists. The first should include items you must have (i.e., the number of bedrooms you need for the size of your family, a one-story house if accessibility is a factor, etc.). The second list might be your wishes, things you would like to have (pool, den, etc.), but that are not absolutely necessary. Realistically for first-time buyers, you probably will not get everything on your wish list, but it will keep you on track for what you are looking for.
  • Representation By A Professional: Work with a full-time real estate agent, preferably one with years of experience.  Real estate can and does have many surprises.
  • Visualize The House Empty & With Your Decor: Are the rooms laid out to fit your needs? Is there enough light?
  • Be Objective: Instead of thinking only with your heart when you find a home, think with your head. Does this home really meet your needs? There is generally more than one house that comes on the market that can meet your needs, so don't make a hurried decision that you may regret later.
  • Be Thorough: A few extra dollars well spent now may save you big expenses in the long run. Don't forget such essentials as:
    1. Include inspection & mortgage contingencies in your written offer.
    2. After having the property inspected by a professional inspector, follow up with any additional inspections needed...such as roof, electric, plubming, foundation etc.

All the above can seem overwhelming at times. That is why having a professional real estate agent represent you and keep track of all the details for you is highly recommended. Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss any of these matters in further detail.