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5 Things I Wish I Knew As A First-Time Homebuyer

family of four smiling for a picture

Photo Credit: Katya Vilchyk

Buying your first home can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. It’s a big decision that comes with many important considerations. There are so many factors to think about, from choosing a neighborhood to figuring out your budget to finding the right real estate agent. Unfortunately, when we were first-time homebuyers searching in Roswell, Georgia many years ago we didn't have anyone to give us the advice I'm about to share. So, we often felt like we were on our own and didn’t really know the next best step to take. Overall, it was a pretty terrible experience but the good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. Here are five things I wish someone told me before we started searching for our first home.

real estate agent talking on phone in Milton, Georgia

Photo Credit: Katya Vilchyk

1. Interview potential real estate agents and then choose one.

Choosing the right real estate agent can make a significant difference in your home-buying experience. When looking for an agent, it’s important to interview several candidates and choose the one that you feel most comfortable working with. Make sure they are experienced, knowledgeable, and have a good track record of helping first-time homebuyers. As a first-time buyer, every part of the experience will likely be brand new to you, so it is important to find someone who will take the time to walk you through and educate you on the process. This way, you can ensure you're making the most informed decisions. It’s also essential to look for an agent who is familiar with the neighborhoods you’re interested in and has a good understanding of the local market.

modern white farmhouse kitchen

Photo Credit: Minh Chau

2. While you’re at it, interview lenders too.

It’s not just the real estate agent you need to interview; you should also talk to lenders. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting is crucial. You want to know how much you can afford and what your interest rates will be. Talking to several lenders can help you compare rates, terms, and fees, and choose the best mortgage option for you. Factors like accessibility, efficiency, and communication are also important because real estate deals don’t happen during bank hours, and a lender who is slow to communicate or who has extended timelines could quite literally lose you your dream home.

wood bench with farmhouse decor

Photo Credit: PoligonChik, Getty Images

3. Your first house probably won’t be your forever home, so don’t put that much pressure on yourself.

It’s important to remember that your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home. Many first-time homebuyers put a lot of pressure on themselves to find the perfect home that they’ll stay in for decades. But, in reality, most people move several times in their lives. In fact, most first-time buyers stay only stay in their first home for 3-5 years. Not to mention, it’s impossible to predict your needs for decades in the future. You may outgrow your home, your family may expand, or you may change jobs and need to relocate. Don’t worry too much about finding your forever home right away.

real estate agent working on laptop in Milton, Georgia

Photo Credit: Katya Vilchyk

4. Your first home also probably won’t be your dream home, but it can pave the way to get you there.

While your first home may not be your dream home, it can be a stepping stone to get you there. Many first-time homebuyers start with a more affordable home and work their way up to larger or more upgraded homes over time. Buying a starter home can be a smart financial decision, as it allows you to build equity and gain experience as a homeowner. In a few years, you can leverage the equity you’ve built in your first home to buy your dream home.

cozy bedroom with two sitting chairs

Photo Credit: Hikesterson, Getty Images

5. Don’t skimp on the inspections. They may be expensive, but home ownership surprises will cost you more.

I get it. Buying a home is expensive and the extra costs of inspections, surveys, and things like title insurance can really add up. Some people may be tempted to forego these things altogether. Don’t fall into that trap. It’s essential to get a home inspection to identify any potential issues before you make an offer. Inspections may be costly, but they can save you money in the long run by identifying problems that you may not have noticed on your own. Don’t skip the inspections to save money; it could end up costing you much more in the future. Surveys and title insurance are important too. Surveys ensure you can receive a clear title on closing day and that there aren’t any unknown encroachments or easements that could seriously impact your property value. Title insurance protects your investment and an enhanced policy will protect you from outside claims and fraud both before and during your ownership.

The truth is, buying your first home is an exciting but daunting process. By following these tips, you can help ensure that you find the right home for you and your family. Remember to take your time, do your research, and work with experienced professionals who can guide you through the process.

Thinking about getting started? Let’s connect! Even if you are not searching in the Atlanta area, I have a wonderful network of agents all over the country (and the world!) who would be thrilled to help you.



My name is Lindsay Walston.

I'm a healthcare provider turned real estate agent with an eye for luxurious details. Let me show you how to create (or find!) a beautiful and functional home, no matter your budget.  Want to learn more?

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