One of the most common areas we get questions about is real estate. After all, it’s the biggest purchase most people will make. What steps should you take with your first home purchase? What should you know before selling your home? How should you choose an agent?
To help answer these questions, I consulted with residential and commercial real estate broker Kacey Taormina. You may have seen her on TV as a lead on Bravo’s new show “Real Estate Wars,” which follows two groups of real estate moguls as they battle it out to become the number one agency in Orange County. Here is a transcript of our discussion along with my takeaways:
You’ve obviously been very successful in your real estate career. Tell me about your own first real estate purchase. Was it your residence or an investment property and what did you learn from that experience?
My first real estate transaction was the purchase of a condo in a new planned community with my husband. I bought the home directly from the homebuilder and visited their design center multiple times to select all of the interior finishes such as flooring, countertops and cabinets. Through this transaction, I learned that I like to be in charge and that buying a home can be a very emotionally charged experience. Months of making decisions and compromises can take a toll on the excitement of it all, so I frequently use this memory when dealing with first time home buyers by reducing unnecessary stress they often encounter in the negotiation, inspection and paperwork portions of an escrow.
Takeaways: Being a first-time home buyer can be exciting but don’t let that distract you from the less exciting aspects of the decision. A real estate agent with experience working with first time home buyers can be valuable, but you’re the one who is ultimately in charge. Do your homework in making sure the home has everything you need, get the property inspected, and hire a real estate attorney to check all the fine print.
What advice would you give for someone trying to decide whether to continue renting or looking to buy their first home?
There are pros and cons to both renting and owning, so the answer really centers around timing and circumstance. Buying a home is a huge commitment, both financially and logistically, so potential buyers should consider their long term ability to pay a mortgage, property taxes and insurance as well as their desire to upkeep their home in order to maintain its value.
Buyers also need to understand that the market moves in cycles and big gains in value are made over a longer term. In a stable market, don’t plan on making a huge profit by flipping your primary residence in just a few years.