Barbara May Referred Realty Group[/caption]

Local Realtors answer questions about trends and offer tips to homebuyers and sellers considering buying or selling a home in or around The Woodlands.

What are the essential things a first-time homebuyer should consider when deciding to purchase a home?

First-time homebuyers should consider all of the financial costs of owning a home (maintenance, property taxes, insurance, [homeowner association] fees, etc.) and also consider the location, school district and neighborhood amenities.

What should first-time homebuyers know about finances and determining a budget when purchasing a home?

They should take the time to talk with a reputable lender or loan officer to get prequalified, establish a realistic budget and understand the full costs of getting into a home. Getting prequalified will also help position them as a solid buyer when it is time to submit an offer on a property.

What are some trends you noticed in 2015 when people were trying to buy a house in The Woodlands area? 

The biggest trend I saw in 2015 was with leasing. There were a lot of clients looking to move to The Woodlands. However, they were cautious and wanting to wait and see which village they would make a move to.

What amenities should first-time homebuyers inspect when looking at a potential home? 

In addition to inspecting the surrounding neighborhood, buyers should never skip a home inspection, which could identify any major issues with a house.

What are some things a first-time homebuyer should avoid when browsing the market and deciding on a house?

A first-time homebuyer should think resale; this will likely be the first of several homes they will own. While you can change a lot of the physical and cosmetic things about a home, you cannot change its location, schools or neighborhood, so be sure you like the things you cannot change. Those will typically be the same things future buyers will like as well when it’s time to sell.

Beginner house-hunting questions:

Are you financially prepared?
On average, first-time homebuyers should have a minimum of 5 percent to 7 percent of the cost of the home they are targeting. Then add 3 to 6 percent more for closing costs, which will vary based on residency and state and city taxes. A healthy credit history is also important.

Are you prepared to make compromises?
Find a middle ground: either having a great house in a not-as-great location or having a smaller or less expensive house in a better location that suits other needs.

Will owning pay off in the long run?
Depending on the home, buyers may pay a lower mortgage than what they paid for rent. If not, there is still the financial advantage of building equity by owning a home.