We spoke with the City of Brotherly Love's real estate experts to hear what they have to say about purchasing your first home.
Mike McCann: Familiarize Yourself with the Neighborhood & Think Long-Term
"When buying your first home, make sure you know the area very well. Walk around in the morning, evening, day, and weekends. Once you locate it, make sure you have it thoroughly inspected by a licensed home inspector so you know exactly what you're purchasing. Prior to purchasing, meet with a qualified mortgage representative who can determine how much you can afford and show you what the total cash outlay in monthly payments will be. Also, it's important to make sure that the home price has trended up over the past years. This is important if you want to sell your property in five years, or you might want to keep it as a long-term investment and rent it out when you purchase your next home." —Mike McCann, The Mike McCann Team
Connie G. Berg: Vet Your Realtor & Think about Comparables
"The most important things for a first-time home buyer is to know comparable home prices in the area and to make sure you choose a reputable, knowledgeable realtor who knows the area and understands your wish list for your home." —Connie Berg
Kit Anstey: Get Your Finances in Order & Location Comes First
"It's important for first-time buyers to know your finances. Be aware of total cash you will need to close by including inspection costs, down payment, settlement charges, and your final monthly payment. It's an old saying but true: Buy the location and the school district. Location, location, location. You can make any home your dream home, but you can't change the location." —Kit Anstey, The Kit Anstey Team
Margaux Genovese Pelegrin: Be Comfortable
"Make sure to work with a realtor that is a market expert and that you feel totally comfortable with asking any and all first-time home-buyer questions." —Margaux Genovese Pelegrin, On the Square Real Estate
Joseph Bograd: Be Realistic about Your Wants & Invest in Emerging Areas
"Real estate never sleeps. If you're trying to buy a hot property, you have to move quickly, or you could possibly lose it. When you are looking at a house, you have to have a wish list, but you have to understand that no house is going to be perfect. Don't judge a book by its cover—same goes for a house. Go inside and look around before making a decision. Properties in good shape are rare, and they don't stay on the market for long.
When it comes to investing, the best place to invest is in an up-and-coming area. You have to see past the junk and see the potential. When you buy a house, it's not just a place to live in, it's an investment. Keep in mind your dollars down the road. Brand new condos tend to be smaller, sometimes no larger than one bedroom, while older units typically have more square footage. You can't negotiate maintenance fees with a condo, and those fees tend to go up periodically." —Joseph Bograd, The Bograd Team