Becoming a first-time homeowner is an incredibly exciting process. Although, we do have to admit that all that excitement comes mixed with some nervousness, which is completely reasonable. After all, a home purchase is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime, so some stress is definitely in order. But you shouldn’t let that stress take too much of your attention – there are many things to be careful about and to look for when buying your first house in Philadelphia.
Now more than ever, it’s important to keep your eyes open when buying a house. The world might be going through a pandemic, but your life after coronavirus largely depends on the decisions you make at this moment. You wouldn’t want to make a rash decision by buying a house that’s at the brink of ruin, or going way over your planned budget. Today, we’ll try to keep you away from the most common mistakes first-time homebuyers make.
Get a pre-approval letter from a bank
Is your plan to attend open house after open house, find a property you will fall in love with, buy it, and live happily ever after? That just goes to show that you are probably inexperienced when it comes to the entire home-buying process. Before touring houses in Philly, we suggest that you first work on getting a pre-approval letter from a bank or a mortgage lender. Think of it like this – you wouldn’t first hire the moving team from Zippy Shell of Greater Philadelphia without securing a house for them to move your belongings to, would you? So there’s no reason to skip steps and visit open houses without knowing how much you can afford.
A pre-approval letter will not only give you a precise idea of how much you can afford, but it will also serve as proof that you are a serious buyer. The person selling his/her home will be much more interested in your offer once they see how much money you can secure.
What type of neighborhood to look for when buying your first house in Philadelphia?
Once you have the pre-approval letter in your hands, it’s time to start looking at neighborhoods. If you are a first-time homebuyer who doesn’t have a hefty budget, your dreams of buying a house in an elite part of Philly are probably crushed. But you shouldn’t despair if you can’t afford a house in a fancy neighborhood just yet, because Philly is a neighborhood-driven city with plenty of possibilities and alternatives.
What you should do is pick a neighborhood that is perfect for your needs. Do you need to find a good school district for your kids? Are you wishing to live in a neighborhood with lots of coffee shops and restaurants? Is a quiet, family area a prerequisite for you? These are just some of the things to think about before looking for your first home in Philly. And if you end up moving to an unknown area, there’s no reason to worry about it. This is the perfect opportunity to get ready for a long journey that’s ahead by driving around your new neighborhood and just taking in the surroundings.
Work with a buyer’s agent to facilitate the process
Many people believe that buyer’s agents are only in this line of work for the commission. But their job truly can’t be underestimated – especially not if you are buying a home for the first time. For starters, they are thoroughly familiar with the listings in the area and will be able to quickly find great properties that will completely be in correspondence with your needs and wishes. Not to mention that they will be able to give you valuable pieces of advice throughout the entire process.
That being said, there is no need for you to completely rely on their assistance (although you could if you wanted to). Instead, you should try to stay informed on the listings and trends by browsing the web. Even before COVID-19’s impact on tourism and life in general, people who were buying a property from a remote location had to rely on online listings and pictures. With video tours and even 3D tours of the house, your perfect home is just within your reach.
Look for decisiveness when becoming a first-time homeowner in Philadelphia
The housing market in Philadelphia has become somewhat tricky. There has been a historically low level of listings in the city, and the ones that are attractive are snatched by buyers pretty quickly. That means that you will be in a situation where you will have to compete with hundreds of people for only a handful of listings. So once you find a property that you think could be the one, you really don’t have that much time for second-guessing. You will have to act quickly and decisively, which is just another reason to work with a buyer’s agent.
The truth is that there are many things to look for when buying your first house in Philadelphia. From the roofing system to the people in the neighborhood, you will have to pay attention to many details, both big and small. However, it’s important to remember that you can always change those things that you don’t like on your property, but you can never change the entire neighborhood.
So be careful when picking the place where you can put down your roots. Work with a buyer’s agent who can help you get what you need, when you need it. And remember – when working with such a competitive housing market as the one in Philly, you really have no time to lose. Snatch the property that you have fallen in love with by being quick on your feet.
Summary: Buying your first house in Philadelphia is a process that involves a lot of planning, from your finances to your choice of housing. To make this task a little easier, we’ve come up with some useful tips!