How to Search Like a Pro, Even as a First-Time Home Buyer

How to Search Like a Pro, Even as a First-Time Home Buyer

  • Thomas Nguyen
  • 02/9/23

As technologies advance and our world ventures deeper into the digital era, innovative tools simplify everyday life and transform tedious tasks into effortless endeavors. Searching for a home is one such example of a process that has shed its meticulous past of paging through newspaper adverts and embraced the convenience and ease of use afforded by online databases and websites.

Even if you are a first-time buyer, these digital tools have streamlined the home-buying process for everyone interested in real estate. All you need is a budget plan, a set of expectations for what you want, and perseverance to follow through with this major investment of both time and money.

Ready to get started? Here are six pieces of advice for first-time buyers to help you search for your dream Balboa Terrace home like a real estate professional.

Calculate your budget

Photo courtesy of Pexels
First things first—you need to calculate your budget before you think about doing anything else. There are several upfront payments to take into immediate consideration: down payment, earnest money, closing costs, and at least 6-12 months’ worth of prepaid property taxes and home insurance. You also need to keep in mind other expenses, such as food, utilities, and moving costs, as well as any outstanding costs of repairs and maintenance the home may require.

To calculate an estimate for your budget, the internet offers a number of tools to help you get a ballpark figure of the overall costs by factoring in your income, home payments, and expected additional expenses. You can also work with a financial planner to move forward with confidence. 

Determine your preferred location

Your ideal neighborhood depends on the kind of lifestyle you want. Are you a sporty person who loves the outdoors? Are you more of a party person who loves to socialize and hit up the latest clubs? Perhaps you’d like someplace quiet in a tight-knit, small-town community away from the city humdrum. Your lifestyle is a huge factor to consider when searching for a new home in a new location.

Balboa Terrace is perfect for those in search of a quiet, close-knit residential community with luxurious single-family homes not too far from the amenities offered by San Francisco. The neighborhood is charming and sophisticated, and its residents aspire to maintain an air of tranquility and style. It’s the ideal small town, far enough from the city to avoid the noise but close enough to still enjoy the unique thrills San Francisco has to offer.

Research the neighborhood

Before you commit yourself to the move, devote some time to researching what it’s like living in Balboa Terrace. It’s quiet and tranquil, but what exactly does the town have to offer? Here is a selection of nearby restaurants and attractions that residents of Balboa Terrace know and love.

Places to eat

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Balboa Terrace is home to a variety of amazing restaurants, such as the Mediterranean eatery Bursa and the esteemed Tekka Japanese Restaurant. Locals also enjoy the ChouChou French Bistro and The Richmond, the premier destination for fine California dining and a wine bar.

Things to do

Although Balboa Terrace is a purely residential city, it’s within a reasonable distance of the activities offered by the rest of San Francisco. Pay a visit to the historic Golden Gate Park, or spend time with the family at Gregangelo’s Velocity Arts & Entertainment agency. There’s the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the Ferry Building, a famous historical landmark. There are a large number of other parks and museums to enjoy in San Francisco, so you’ll always have something to do when you visit the city.

Find a local real estate agent

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Once you have chosen Balboa Terrace, San Francisco real estate as your ideal new home, your next move should be connecting with a real estate agent who specializes in the area. Real estate agents are wellsprings of knowledge and resources to aid you in your journey. They grant you access to the MLS (multiple listing service), an online database exclusive to agents and their buyers. On the MLS, agents list properties and input every feature of the home on behalf of their clients. Buyers can then, with the guidance of their own agents, filter the search engine based on the features they are looking for. It’s a great way for buyers and sellers to connect through one nifty database, but the MLS is only accessible by licensed realtors.

List your wants and needs

Photo courtesy of Pexels
Next, you should make a list of everything you want and need in your new home. Categorize these features based on their priority to you: must-haves, would-prefer, and can-live-without. You should also make a list of the features that are deal breakers, such as proximity to noisy streets.

Your list should also include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the amount of storage, any additions, such as a porch or patio, and anything else you would prefer to have. It’s a good idea to consult your household in case there’s anything you may have missed.

Begin the home search

Now that you have a generalized idea of what you want out of a home, you may begin the official home search on the Balboa Terrace, San Francisco real estate market. Rely on your real estate agent to help you browse listings and narrow down the results based on your needs.

When you find a home you like, arrange for a tour, preferably in person if you’re able to travel to the location. Although a home may look great at face value, keep in mind that sellers hire real estate agents and other professionals to clean up the home and furnish it for viewing. The glamorous appearance may very well be concealing major issues, such as infrastructural damage, that will end up burning a hole in your wallet in the near future. It’s strongly recommended you hire a home inspector for this purpose after your offer is accepted—in fact, many home insurance companies won’t write you a policy without a home inspection report issued by a licensed inspector.

Evaluate the home based on your experience with the tour, your personal needs, and your budget. It’s okay if it turns out that a home you originally loved isn’t the best choice for you and your family.

As previously mentioned, every first-time buyer should get in touch with a local real estate agent to facilitate an even smoother transaction. Equipped with the skills and resources to successfully and efficiently navigate Balboa Terrace, San Francisco real estate, realtors are indispensable allies in finding your perfect home. For the best of the best, contact Thomas Nguyen. He’ll ensure your real estate goals come to fruition.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Visit the link for a free home valuation!

Learn More

Work With Thomas

With my 19 years of real estate experienced & knowledge in San Francisco Bay Area market place. I strike to exceed expectations for every single property I manage or sell.

Follow Us on Instagram