Overcoming Fear of the Unknown in Real Estate

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For many younger local residents, any sense of urgency about buying their first home has probably been shelved for a while now. The pandemic necessitated putting many a long-range plan on hold—and even after the initial disruptions had faded, it was often replaced with a natural impulse to wait to see what the ‘new normal’ would look like once the health threat subsided. As for buying a first home, the headlines about ballooning real estate prices were anything but encouraging. Then came other distractions—like the threat of rising taxes and inflation. It all worked to foster a sense of uncertainty.

Even in more placid times, more often than not, the first impediment to a major initiative like buying a first home is fear of the unfamiliar. This can include a mix of issues, starting with what qualifications are required, how to begin the process, what steps come next, what obstacles can be expected to arise, etc. The array of online ‘how-to’ articles are helpful, but the most authoritative necessarily include a good number of qualifications: “in some states,” “depending on local ordinances,” and the like. They aren’t confidence-builders.

By itself, fear of the unknown is not a bad thing—it prevents many a misstep. It can be vanquished in the most straightforward way: by turning ‘unknowns’ into ‘knowns.’ For would-be first-time homeowners, several of the most common are easily vanquished:

• UNKNOWN 1: How much money do first-timers save to buy a house? According to Attom Data Solutions, the latest average first-time buyer’s down payment was 9.1% of the loan amount.
• UNKNOWN 2: How good must my credit be? The Federal Housing Administration requires a 580 credit score or higher.
• UNKNOWN 3: How do negotiations with an owner work? (See answer to UNKNOWN 4).
• UNKNOWN 4: Everything else? As early as possible, call an agent!

There are a goodly number of factors that go into identifying and securing any house, many of which will be most successfully handled by joining forces with an experienced Realtor®. They can answer every question as it arises, or even before—and make sure that all the fine points are handled properly.