Confessions of a First-Time Home Buyer in Spruce Hill

Confessions of a First-Time Home Buyer in Spruce Hill

  • Christopher Hvostal
  • 06/14/23

Congratulations! You’re finally ready to take the plunge into homeownership. When you’re ready to take a peek at Spruce Hill houses for sale, you may first want to listen to what other first-time buyers have experienced so you’ll know better what to expect. Want to know what it’s really like to buy a home for the first time? Let’s delve into the Spruce Hill real estate market as a first-time buyer.

Uncertainty is a big part of the journey

You might have spent weeks, months, or years walking around the neighborhood and imagining what it might be like to own certain homes. You might have had your eye on a specific house near Clark Park or down the block from Knockbox Cafe.

But when you first start looking for homes of your own, the reality will quickly become apparent: few things are certain in home buying. The places you’ve been eying might not be available to purchase now. The timetable of the market is entirely unpredictable, and you might end up living on a particular block, but you also might not.

Accept the uncertainty. Something will pop up, but you have to accept that you won’t have control over the exact block where it will be located, and you might have to revise some of the imaginings that you’ve had previously.

You might have no idea where to start

It’s okay to feel disoriented. You’ve never purchased a home before, and home buying is certainly not a topic taught in school. You might not know whether you should look for homes first on your own or get a realtor. (The answer is: get a realtor.)

You might need clarification about whether you should figure out your home-buying budget now — or whether you should wait to see how much you will be preapproved for from your loan officer. (The answer is: it doesn’t really matter, but you can use a mortgage calculator to start to assess your own budget if you’d like.)

You also might wonder if you can start looking at homes without having gone through the mortgage preapproval process. (The answer is: only if you can pay all cash.)

The interior of a home might not match its exterior, and vice-versa

If you’ve never been on home tours before, you’re about to head into new territory! A home’s exterior might look picture-perfect … but then you might enter and find that it hasn’t been renovated since 1934. Or, the exterior of a home might look sort of gnarly, but when you get inside, you might be surprised to see that the interior is well-appointed and maintained.

Spruce Hill is filled with unique historical homes oozing charm and character, and you’ll discover that some have been kept up much more than others. This will reflect in the price, as it does everywhere in the country. Homes that have been shown more attention from their owners will have a higher price tag.

Your friend’s experience might not reflect your own

You’ve heard that story about how your friend scored a fantastic home for cheap when the interest rates were first lowered in March 2020. You’ve also heard that story about how your other friend purchased a fixer-upper in 2018 and has since converted it into an Airbnb that nets $10,000 per month.

Both of these stories might be entirely valid, but your own journey might be a bit different.

Mortgage rates are a bit higher than they were in those halcyon days. (Definitely not as high as in the 1980s—approaching nearly 20% in the mid-80s.)

And home prices are a bit higher — or sometimes even a lot higher — than just a few years ago. So you’re operating on a different playing field from your friend.

But don’t let that stop or dissuade you if you can afford to be a homeowner now. Consider your monthly rent payment and how it can easily convert into a mortgage payment. Of course, you’ll also need to take care of the down payment and closing costs. But if you have enough in your savings to take care of those payments, know they will be going to incredibly good use. You’ll be buying your very own piece of Philly to keep for your very own.

You will probably not buy the first house you look at

Many home buyers look at least 10 homes throughout their home-buying journey, although a lucky few will find the perfect one on the first try.

Don’t become discouraged if you don’t find the right one for you immediately. Your realtor understands this is a process and doesn’t want to push you into getting something you don’t want. Instead, relax and enjoy the journey. 

You should do your due diligence when deciding to work with a realtor

Buying a home is a significant investment, and working with someone who understands that is important. Your realtor should be responsive and return your calls, texts, or emails. Your realtor should answer your questions thoroughly and honestly. Your realtor should understand if you have certain non-negotiables, like wanting a home with a space for a home office.

Your realtor should be completely on your side, and your realtor should be willing to explain any confusing terms to you. In addition, your realtor should make you feel welcome to ask questions, even if those questions sound simplistic to you in your head.

Your realtor should be a local expert who is also easy to work with. Chris Hvostal fits all of these characteristics and more. Reach out to The Chris Hvostal Team to start your journey as a first-time home buyer looking at Spruce Hill houses for sale. Chris enjoys working with first-time home buyers to find their ideal homes, and he is responsive and ready for your questions.

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