Tips for new homebuyers

By Joni Ribera, Let's Talk Real Estate

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there as to when is the best time to buy real estate.

Most buyers want to wait for the bottom of the market. You can never know when the bottom is until the market starts going up. Also, with interest rates at an all-time low, if you wait and the rates go up, you lose.

Here are some tips if you are a first-time buyer or if you haven’t bought a home in a while.

• Be picky, but don’t be unrealistic. There is no perfect home.

• Do your homework before you start looking. Decide specifically what features you want in a home and which are most important to you.

• Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and your closing costs.

• Don’t wait to get a loan. Talk to a lender and get pre-qualified for a mortgage before you start looking.

• Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion.

• Decide when you could move. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area?

• Think long-term. Are you looking for a starter house with the idea of moving up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home longer? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that suit you best.

• Don’t let yourself be “house poor.” If you max yourself out to buy the biggest home you can afford, you’ll have no money left for maintenance or decoration or to save money for other financial goals.

• Don’t be naive. Insist on a home inspection and, if possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects within one year.

• Find a good Realtor. The process of purchasing a home is a confusing one. Realtors are paid by the seller. There is no reason not to use a Realtor for a buyer as they will help you find just the right house you can afford since they have access to all homes on the market. Ask friends, co-workers and relatives who own a home if they were happy with their Realtor. Realtors mostly work by referrals from satisfied, past clients.

Contact Federal Way real estate agent Joni Ribera at (253) 632-5779 or Also visit

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