Buyer Beware: 3 Tips For First-Time Buyers

Buying your first home in the San Diego market can be difficult, especially for a young family just getting started. Before you decide to go house hunting, read up on these tips shared by third generation realtor and local San Diegan, Teevan McManus of Lyons Realty.

  1. Pick the right lender and get pre-approved.

Getting a pre-approval is extremely important to secure before you begin your home search. Knowing your realistic budget rather than your dream budget will save you time and heartbreak. Many realtors will not take you seriously without getting a pre-approval, which can take as little as one day. The seller will be more inclined to accept an offer if you have already secured financing.

  1. Look into comparable homes.

Viewing other homes that are comparable in square footage, number of bedrooms, and lot size will help you gauge your initial offer. If the home is drastically lower in price than the comps, there may be some extensive renovations and repairs needed that the seller has not made clear. An overpriced home could mean that the seller has overvalued their home and you may be able to negotiate a lower offer.

  1. Be open-minded to a few options.

We all know the elation that comes with finding your dream home, so it can be a real set back when a seller rejects your offer. A good realtor will spend time finding more than one home that you can envision living in. Having a budget in mind before you start looking, thanks to your pre-approval, will help eliminate homes out of your price range from your search, so you can focus more energy on picturing yourself in your new home! Take note of the characteristics you love in your dream home and think about how you could implement them in whichever home you choose. We are currently in a seller’s market, making it even more important to make a few compromises and have more than one backup option.

These tips may seem like conventional wisdom, but these are things first-time buyers tend to forget. Working with an experienced realtor is important for first-timers as well.  A professional will help you step by step with each of these tips while keeping your best interests in mind. It can be tempting to use your best friend or aunt with a year or two or experience, but with a decision as big as a home purchase you want the most knowledgeable local agent there is. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to close.


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