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5 Things First-Time Home Buyers in Philadelphia Should Know

Purchasing your first home is a major milestone at any stage in life. You’ve worked hard and saved your money, and you’re finally ready to take the leap into homeownership. However, a great deal of time and energy goes into purchasing a home—especially if you’re buying Rittenhouse Square real estate or homes in the surrounding Philadelphia area.

Fortunately, with a little research and a sharp understanding of the market, you can be confident in your search for the ideal home. Doing this will ensure a smooth experience for the duration of the homebuying process.

In this post, we’ll discuss five things first-time homebuyers in Philadelphia should do. Whether you’re searching for a home in the heart of the city or seeking out Chestnut Hill real estate, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!

1. Research and understand the home buying process

Searching for homes is an exciting time. You can find everything from hip Rittenhouse Square real estate to cozy and quaint homes for sale in Bryn Mawr. However, before jumping into the home search, you will want to research and understand the process of buying a home.

First, you should determine your price range and payment options. Paying with cash offers many benefits: stress-free transactions, potentially heightened interest from the seller, no chance of delays from a lender’s end, and more. If a cash purchase isn’t an option, apply for a mortgage pre-approval. When taking this route, be sure to speak to the lender about how much you can afford with your budget so you know which houses to include in your home search. Most real estate agents prefer to work with buyers who are willing to pay cash and/or are already pre-approved for a loan. Once you have either cash or your pre-approval letter in hand, you can start looking for a licensed real estate agent who is familiar with Rittenhouse Square real estate and the surrounding metro area.

A real estate agent can help you to understand the other steps in the home buying process, from searching for the right home to appraisal to closing, as well as everything in between. If you are working with a lender, they can help you to understand those steps that are specific to the lending process, such as applying for a mortgage and processing your loan.

Researching the steps involved in buying a home will demystify the process and prepare you for your rewarding transition into a first-time homeowner.

2. Find a good real estate agent specializing in your desired neighborhoods

Finding a real estate agent who can serve as a representative for you is a great idea. Look for agents who have local experience and strong testimonials to back up their expertise. The best agents are the ones who specialize in your desired neighborhoods.

The right real estate agent will help you find the right home for your price range. They will be able to give you an understanding of the other costs topping the home’s listing price: the home insurance, interest, HOA fees, mortgage insurance (if applicable), new bills, and maintenance costs. A real estate agent who specializes in your desired neighborhood can help you make sure the location is a good fit for your lifestyle and, even more, they can help you find the best home deals. By previewing properties for you to determine if those properties fit your outlined needs, a realtor can save you time. They can negotiate on your behalf, and their knowledge and expertise in the local real estate scene will prove fruitful for successful negotiations. Finally, their familiarity with the paperwork process will prove crucial to your ability to understand the required documentation and to keep your purchase moving forward. Overall, finding a good real estate agent means finding an advocate for yourself.

3. Choose the right neighborhood for your family

Once you have secured a real estate agent, you can begin thinking more critically about the ideal neighborhood for your future home; your agent can guide you through this process to ensure you make the right choice.

Rittenhouse Square is a good place to start if you want to be in the heart of the city. This area is ideal for smaller families or bachelors who want to be close to the action and don’t desire a great deal of space.

If you need a little more space and privacy, you can search for Chestnut Hill real estate or homes for sale in Bryn Mawr. The suburbs of Philadelphia offer more house for less money. Although the commute from these areas can be difficult if you work in the city, the seclusion and spaciousness might be worth it.

4. Take advantage of open houses

Going to open houses can be a time-consuming task, but it really is one of the best ways to see a home. Pictures and descriptions on the MLS, Zillow, and Redfin rarely do any house justice. You want to walk through your potential homes in person, touch the finishes, and stand in the space to truly understand what it will be like to live there. Sellers will also typically have the home staged for open houses, so you can see how the furniture fits in the space.

Open houses are also a great way to view a home at your own pace. You don’t need to set up an appointment. You can simply show up, walk the house, and even scope out the competition.

You can also see if there is adequate parking. Philadelphia is notorious for sparse parking, and it’s not uncommon to find apartments and townhomes in the city with limited or no parking. If you find this is the case, you may want to expand your search to Chestnut Hill real estate or the other neighboring suburban areas.

5. Don’t skip the home inspection

Sellers are unfortunately not always open and honest about their homes. In some cases, they may not even be aware of existing issues with the space. No matter how nice a house looks or how new it is, you should always insist on a home inspection.

A home inspector will walk through the space and identify existing or potential problems with the home. Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the United States with some houses that date back to earlier centuries. Unfortunately, aging homes can come with a laundry list of concerns. These can be anything from leaky pipes to unsafe wiring.

The home inspection is a crucial part of buying a home—don’t skip it! Your inspector will let you know if the home has any safety issues or concerns so you can negotiate a better price for the house or look for a better option. Your realtor can be a strong advocate and guide for you during this process, making sure you find your dream home in acceptable condition and at the right price.

Buying your first home should be an exciting time in your life. Don’t let the ins and outs of real estate make your experience stressful. You can use these five tips for a smooth, easy home-buying process:
  1. Research and understand the process
  2. Find a good real estate agent specializing in your desired neighborhoods
  3. Choose the right neighborhood for your family
  4. Take advantage of open houses
  5. Don’t skip the home inspection
Do you have any questions about purchasing your first home in Philadelphia? Contact The Baer Group to speak with a local professional today. Our knowledgeable real estate agents can help you on your search, whether you’re looking for an apartment in the city center or homes for sale in Bryn Mawr.

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