Advice for First Time Home Buyers
One of the most important things is to do your research on your real estate agent- do not just blindly go with the listing agent or with someone just because you know them, do your research, check ratings, and ask around. A good experienced realtor who is familiar with the area and generally knowledgeable makes a difference. The same goes for an attorney. Do not choose an attorney who does not consistently practice in real estate law.
The next most important thing is to take your time, do not rush into offers, do not settle. While you should not settle for a home you do not love (or at least love something about), that also does not mean you are going to get everything you want. You must be realistic and reasonable. From a more legal standpoint, when you get your home inspection report you cannot expect that every small thing you are concerned about is going to be addressed. Many first time buyers panic when they receive the report. You have to do a cost benefit analysis and understand that you are never going to get a home in mint condition- even new construction homes have their share of problems. Remind yourself about what you loved about the home in the first place (this goes back to not settling from the start). Speak to your friends, family, peers and ask about their experiences. There are undoubtedly deal breaking issues but you should also put yourself in the position of the seller- when you go to sell your home what kind of requests would you be willing to entertain? I often find that many first time buyers waste time and stress over making requests for very minor items (sink stoppers, cosmetic items, upgrades, etc.). These hang ups may sour the experience or turn off the other parties unnecessarily.
I think ultimately the most important thing is to take your time in the beginning stages and choose the right people. A good realtor, attorney and lender working together can make the most unbearable experiences manageable and properly guide you.