The First-Time Homebuyer


One on One With Tom Nash

By Gina Dostler

The word “home” brings so many thoughts and emotions into play that it is important for first -ime homebuyers to settle into the right place.  Buying a home is one of the largest financial transactions most people will make in their lives. And learning everything that happens in the home-buying process can be quite daunting to those new to the arena.  Locating the right place to call home becomes a major commitment, in which mental and financial aspects need to be all in order. And, as with everything in life, there is a method that works best.

Getting answers to questions that pile up when looking for a home requires knowledge and know-how. Tom Nash has both, having practiced in the real estate market for more than 30 years. His real estate experience has taken him through three cycles of market highs and lows, and that has enabled him to gain much insight on how this market plays out.  He happily provided some answers about buying a home for the first-time and how to be much savvier about it.

Q: How is the market setup right now for buying a home for the first-time?

A:  Well right now the real estate market is in a flux with very dynamic changes taking place. But there are a couple of things to be aware of in this seller’s market. First, interest rates being so low right now make it a great opportunity for someone wanting to buy a home for the very first-time. Second, we are just starting to come out of the “trough” that the market has been sitting in for awhile. Many homeowners that bought during the top of the market around 2006/2007 unfortunately have lost their properties after taking a second on their loan for home improvements. Something happened in their financial picture and couldn’t keep up the payments. These homes that go back to the bank are something to consider for buying as a first home. Having a home with the least amount of fix-ups makes it more affordable in the long run.

Q:  What should a first-time buyer know about buying a home right now?

A:  Sometimes it can get tough. Being a seller’s market there are multiple offers on homes that make it difficult for first-time buyers. There have been instances where some unethical agents have been abusing the short sale market by putting a home on the market for say $650,000 when it’s really worth $750,000 so they can generate multiple offers. The offer then goes to the lender for a long drawn out process of qualifying and finds the home is worth more so the offer comes back from the lender with more requirements, money, etc. A first-time buyer would more likely have to walk away, losing time and money.

Q:  What would be an important step to take in finding the right home?

A:  Really, for first-time buyers they need someone who knows the ropes, a good agent they feel comfortable detailing their financial aspects and what they want in a home. Since the process is new for them, having the right representation to handle all the information, paperwork, inspections, etc., can save them headaches down the line. For instance, most home buyers on average move every five to seven years. Learning what the buyer wants, either to sell in several years or stay put for the long-term can make all the difference when setting up the right loan and interest rate.

Q:  So once I find an agent, I can start looking for a home?

A:  First find out how much money you can work with by calculating a monthly mortgage payment you can afford. Typically you want to keep to no more than 25% of your income to go towards a home payment. Good news is there is financing available to do anything. Lot of times buyers start with a townhome and then move into a single family home. It’s pretty nice these days, home prices being so low that sellers are getting their price or even more. But on the other hand, prices have compressed enough to be affordable. Prior to 2007 it was ok to sell, but now with prices where they are at, it’s a good time to be buying.

Q: What are some major pitfalls?

A: Not getting adequate inspections. It is important for the homebuyers to always ask for a home warranty policy and there are different companies that put them out. These policies cover refrigerators, dishwashers, spas, pools, and only have small deductibles. If within a certain period of time something goes wrong in the home, a one time fee anywhere from $40-$60 is charged to evaluate and repair the system. And if they can’t repair it, they replace it. Always ask the seller to pick that cost up.

Q:  Other stuff to be aware of?

A:  First-time buyers really need to do their own due diligence by scoping out the neighborhood that is being considered. Check it out different times of the day to get a better understanding of what goes on. Short sales are good opportunities to buy a home but they don’t have to disclose anything and are sold “as is.” So go around and see if you can find someone in the neighborhood working on their yard during the weekend and talk to them. Introduce yourself and you’d be surprise how much information you can gather from that conversation. Be sure to visit during the weeks as well. A neighborhood might be nice and quiet on the weekend, but during the week it sports a thoroughfare of traffic going up and down the street which probably wouldn’t be a good home for a family with young kids. Also make sure to check the backyard out. It might have a busy street on the other side or power lines above. There are lots of little things that need to be noted so the best decision can be made.

Q:  So first-time buyers need to ask a lot of questions.

A: Absolutely. It’s best to ask every question possible and have a free-flow of information from buyer to agent to land the perfect home. Though I prefer the more personal touch of speaking directly with someone, emailing and texting are other great ways to keep in touch to allow good communication to flow between you and your agent


Tom Nash CRS,GRI
Keller Williams Realty
Newport Estates
2 San Joaquin Plaza #150
Newport Beach, CA 92660
714-381-0731 – Direct
DRE Lic: 00834940