How to Navigate the 2021 Market as a First-Time Home Buyer

Samantha, Gavin, & Izzy Chiles

What could be better than getting first-time home buyer advice from a real estate agent that is part of an award-winning team? Getting advice from that same agent who also happens to be looking for her first home! Here is Samantha Chiles’ take on the process.

Getting Started: The First-Time Home Buyer Lending Process

‘My husband and I actually just began looking for our first home. We got pre-approved back in December and to be honest, it was way less painful than I think a lot of first-time home buyers would expect. Here’s something I think buyers may not realize:  YOU DON’T NEED A 20% DOWN PAYMENT! I personally had a friend ask, “How the heck do people our age have 20% to put down right now?” …. The answer is, we don’t! I think it’s great if you have 20% to put down on a house in your 20’s but most of us are just getting into our careers and have student loans, car payments etc., and the idea of having to save a whopping 20% before can be  discouraging.

For us, right now it’s more important to have some extra cash in the bank vs spending our whole life savings on a down payment. Just to put it into perspective, when we looked at 5% down versus 10% with our lender, it made a difference of $100 per month in our mortgage payment. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have an extra $20k in my savings account and pay $100 more per month. The benefit to the 20% down is you avoid PMI – private mortgage insurance. However, with how crazy the Phoenix market has been and our ever-increasing home values, you can refinance your home in a few years. And if your value has increased enough to have a full 20% equity in your home you will lose that PMI, saving money each month! 

The bottom line is, if you’re a first-time home buyer, it’s a great idea to reach out to a lender and start asking questions.’

Next: The Actual Home Buying Process

‘I’m not going to lie, the getting pre-approved process is much easier than actually finding a house in the Phoenix market right now…..especially in the first-time home buyer price range!

Homes in the $250,000 – $500,000 range are practically flying off the shelves. Fairly often, sellers are receiving multiple offers for these homes, with many over asking price. We are also dealing with out of state investors that are able to pay with cash, making it even more difficult for a regular offer. We’ve personally experienced this and I’m an agent so you would think I should have some hidden secret on how to get our offer accepted… NOPE! So, what’s my advice? I think now more than ever it’s super important to work with a seasoned agent that knows how to navigate and get creative in this market. It’s also important to work with an agent who has established connections and a good reputation, especially in the areas you are looking to purchase. This will help you as a buyer to get a leg up on the competition. 

Finally, I think it’s important to go into this process with an open mind and know that what is meant to be will be – the right home will come! It’s hard when you have your heart set on a home, and I’m even guilty of this! We found a home that I was completely convinced was THE ONE. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it and now I realize that home was clearly not the one for us.’

Finally: The Bottom Line for First-Time Home Buyers!

‘We haven’t given up and are still on the hunt to find our first home. We trust the process, and know we’ll find the right one. In the meantime, we’re learning more and more about what we really want and we actually love looking at houses! If you have any questions about the first-time home buying process, I am always happy to help! Give me a call at 928-965-6747.’

Wishing you luck on your search!

Samantha Chiles
The Urban Team at The Caniglia Group

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