May 19, 2021 3 minute read

Let the search begin: Tips for first-time homebuyers

Should you buy a new home, a recently renovated condo, or a fixer-upper? When house hunting, the possibilities are endless. After assessing your finances and getting in touch with a real estate professional, you may think the hard part is over, but you’re only just getting started. 

Successful home buying begins with asking the right questions. Follow these critical steps to lead you in your search, guide you through open house tours, and help you make an offer. These tips could land you in your dream home!

Make a Wishlist

Keep it simple. Start by asking yourself:

  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I want?
  • Where do I want to live (city/town, neighborhood)?
  • How many square feet should the home be?
  • Do I want new construction, recently renovated, or am I willing to put work into a fixer-upper?

Work with your real estate partner to refine your answers. Most of the time, agents will have you fill out a buyer’s questionnaire before you begin the search. This will help them source the best homes that meet your expectations. Keep it general and, most importantly, be reasonable. It’s okay to include some characteristics you may not find, but knowing when something is a must-have and a can-do-without will make all the difference in your home buying experience.

Keep a Sharp Eye

After you’ve found a few homes that fit your requirements, begin attend open houses with your real estate agent. When touring a home, thoroughly examine the interior and exterior details. Pay attention to the foundation: is the building level? Are there trees that are too close to the house? Do the flooring, baseboards, ceilings, or windows show any signs of water damage? Depending on your answers, you may find that you have to put in a little elbow grease if you decide to buy. Consider bringing along a contractor or inspector to help you evaluate the home’s condition. They have a keen eye and can spot minor imperfections you can use to your advantage during negotiations or potential major problems that signal you to walk away. In sellers’ markets, buyers may consider waiving home inspections in the hopes that it will move their offer to the top of the pile. But beware, while this may work out in the short-term, waiving a home inspection could cost you time and money in the long run.

Submit an Offer

If you’re buying in today’s market, you know that homes are selling fast. Sellers report seeing multiple offers for their houses, and almost all are going for well above the asking price. Now more than ever, buyers will want to make sure they’re crafting an attractive offer that both catches the homeowner’s eye and is still a financially responsible option for themselves. 

Your real estate agent will start by identifying comparable homes in the area. Looking at these prices and considering the state of the market, you can estimate how much the seller would be willing to accept. Some buyers will also write “love letters” that detail how much they admire the house and why they would be the best choice as the new homeowner. Even if your offer isn’t accepted, don’t get frustrated. Your agent can reach out to the seller to understand why and you can use this feedback to help you write a better offer on a different house. 

Home buying isn’t easy and can be especially hard when the market favors the sellers. Check out this piece on Buying in a Seller’s Market to help you navigate buying in today’s real estate climate. 

Are you ready to start the search? Make sure you have expert guidance along the way. Contact me at [email protected] to learn more about my services and how I can help you find your first home!

Leyla Yildiz


Leyla Yildiz is a Senior Associate on the Residential team at Senné, specializing in buyer and seller representation and leasing services in Greater Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. Her work helping clients identify unique housing options has earned her a reputation as a skilled real estate agent among her clients.

Related Insights
Saved Properties
Saved Neighborhoods


Sign In

Don't have a Senné account? Sign up

Sign Up


Already have a Senné account? Log in