Local agents discuss first-time home buying

Kristen Kerns

Many first-time homebuyers decide to leap from renting to owning when they feel they can handle a mortgage. But before unlocking the door to their first home, Lori Oaks, an agent with Coldwell Banker, and Kristen Kerns, an agent with Market Place Realty, said shopping for that first home has challenges that go beyond curb appeal and design.

“No one is more excited to buy than a first-time homebuyer,” Kerns said. “That being said, buying a home can be extremely overwhelming and scary but at the same time immensely gratifying.”

Oaks suggests to her incoming clients to interview real estate agents in their community to find traits that best suit their needs as a buyer. Personally, she uncovers who they are, what their expectations are and ultimately what they’re looking for in their first home. That way they feel as though they have the best representation, Oaks said.

Other traits include compassion, knowledge and responsiveness to needs.

“It’s important for first-time homebuyers to have their ducks in a row before they really start shopping the market,” Kerns said.

Lori Oaks

Important steps to remember when buying a first home:

  • Choosing the right real estate agent.
  • Getting approved for a mortgage.
  • Finding the right home that fits into the budget.

Once the first-time homebuyers have discussed their needs and wants, Oaks said she sends her clients to local mortgage loan originator Terry Adams, Integrity Home Mortgage Corporation for pre-approval. That way her clients know what price point they can shop in.

“We frequently see homebuyers looking at homes that are outside of their budget,” Adams said. “It’s discouraging when they realize that the only one they thought was ideal really isn’t because they simply can’t afford it.”

With so many types of loans for first-time homebuyers, Adams said sitting down with a loan officer in the early stages of house hunting is more beneficial than waiting.

“Many of the first-time buyers I work with, after a little market research, know what they expect out of their first home,” Kerns said. “Many of them are looking at starter homes because it’s what they can afford, knowing that down the road they will purchase what they call their ‘dream home’.”

Terry Adams

Homes for first-time buyers are typically not perfect and need a little TLC because they know they have to compromise, Kerns added.

Important factors for first-time homebuyers include location,  square footage, number of bedrooms and yard.

“It’s all about Pinterest,” Kerns said. “This is probably the most creative generation we’ve had who are purchasing for the first time. They’re much more open-minded and willing to take on a challenge.”

Even in today’s market, with low inventory Oaks said she still sees the excitement with first-time homebuyers.

“They’re willing to look at more than one because they want something that is their own,” Oaks said. “And while many first-time homebuyers realize they aren’t buying their dream home, they’re buying something they will call home for years to come. That’s special to them.”