June 07, 2021
Buying a home or condo in Philadelphia is an exciting and proud moment. You’ve been diligently saving up for the purchase over several years and are finally beginning the search for your piece of the City of Brotherly Love.
Taking the plunge with a home purchase can also be an overwhelming and emotional process, especially if you're a first-time buyer that isn't as well-versed with all of the steps of buying in Philadelphia.
To help make sure you're ready to buy, Prevu has compiled a list of a few expert tips for first-time home buyers in Philadelphia.
The very first thing you should do when considering a home purchase in Philadelphia is get a pre-approval letter from a bank or mortgage lender. Securing a pre-approval is important for two reasons. First, it allows you to fully understand how much you can afford and properly set the budget for your home search. Second, the letter shows sellers that you are a serious buyer with proof of what a mortgage company is willing to lend you.
Too often, home buyers start their search first, fall in love with a home, and find themselves scrambling to request a pre-approval letter which can result in a delay that causes you to miss out on a property in a competitive market. Avoid the headache, get pre-approved right from the start.
One of the biggest mistakes home buyers in Philadelphia can make is not asking their real estate broker about how they can save with commission rebates. The structure of a commission rebate is very straightforward - your real estate broker gives you a portion of the commission they receive for representing you as a buyer.
Prevu, a tech-enabled brokerage in Philadelphia, rebates up to 2% of a buyer’s purchase price with the firm’s Smart Buyer Rebate - the largest commission rebate in Philadelphia. For example, if you bought a $500,000 home with a 3% buyer’s agent commission, you would receive $10,000 in the form of a rebate from Prevu.
That’s money that can offset your closing costs, help furnish your new home, or simply replenish your savings!
It is quite common for home buyers to chase trendy neighborhoods in any city, and while there is nothing wrong with that, it is important to remember that buying a home is a longer term investment. Trends can change quickly, and what may be the hottest neighborhood today may no longer fit your lifestyle in several years.
Buyers should evaluate Philadelphia neighborhoods based on their needs. Make a list of the must-haves you want in a property and in a neighborhood. Whether you are seeking a vibrant food scene, cozy cafes, access to public transportation, easy parking, or affordable prices, choose a neighborhood that checks all the boxes for you over the long term.
Information is one of your best friends when buying a home (after your real estate agent, of course). Staying up to date on the latest listings and price trends in your favorite neighborhoods will make you more familiar with the area.
The best way to do this is to review as many listings as possible online, request virtual tours, and sign up for property alerts so you are always in the know. Prevu provides home buyers with daily property alerts, weekly open house agendas, and the ability to schedule tours with the click of a button when a property catches your eye.
Recently, there has been a historically low level of listings inventory in Philadelphia, as attractive properties are scooped up quickly by local home buyers and folks relocating to the city. The limited inventory of Philadelphia homes for sale has become even more pronounced since the COVID-19 pandemic as home owners have waited to list their properties.
This has resulted in a tricky situation for buyers who find themselves competing with others for only a handful of sales listings that match their criteria. In order to succeed in such a competitive market, be ready to act quickly and decisively. You’ll be glad you got that pre-approval early on!