Are you ready to buy your first home in Berks County? You may be excited to finally have your own home. But in a hot real estate market, finding the right home for your family might be tricky. The process can end up being a roller-coaster of hope and fear.

The real estate market is hot, and the home you fall in love with may get multiple offers. On a nationwide average, sixty-eight percent of U.S. homes sold in July were on the market for less than a month, and the median existing-home price was up 8.5% from July 2019, according to the National Realtors Association.

You may feel like you need to compete with other buyers, and that thought process can lead to you overspending or buying a home you regret later. The goal is to keep your cool when buying your first home. Here are some tips that can help.

Set a realistic budget

Before you even start looking at homes for sale in Berks County, you need to look at your finances and determine what you can realistically afford. Then yo u need to get pre-approved for a home mortgage.  Without a pre-approval, no one will take your offer seriously, and the deal may very well go to the buyers who are pre-approved. The importance of this step cannot be overstated.

Next, decide on a price range based on now much loan you've been pre-approved for and your budget. Make sure you give yourself room to breath in regards to living expenses, utilities, and maintenance costs.

Learn what to expect before you shop

Preparation is a key element to success when buying a home. An experienced agent, such as James Ernst, can guide you through decisions before you get swept up in the emotions of buying a home. Then, when you’re making offers, your agent can help you stay grounded.

Be firm on your needs, flexible on the rest

Why do you want to buy a home? Whatever the reasons, you can use them to help you decide what features you need in a home. It's OK to be picky about must-have items. Envision what day-to-day life would look like in a home you're interested in and decide if that home has what you need to make life easier.

Be willing to compromise on cosmetics you can change and amenities you don’t need. Don't expect perfection. Keep in mind that this will be your home and you can do whatever you want to it, such as paint, getting rid of ugly wallpaper, and replace the flooring and countertops.

Don’t let emotions get out of hand

Buying a home can be an anxious and frustrating experience. Be ready for those emotions and keep them from taking over. Anxiety can lead you to rush into bad decisions or get stuck and make no decisions at all. Step back and try to set those emotions to the side when you feel anxious. Talk to family or friends, as well as your agent, to gain perspective.

And make sure to pace yourself. The right home will come along. A common first-time home buyer mistake is looking at too many homes. That gets exhausting and can lead you to make decisions just to get the process over with.

Stick to your price range and priorities

There are many concessions you can make to win over a seller. They range from low-risk measures, such as being flexible on the closing date, to high-risk moves, such as waiving the right to request repairs or to back out of the deal depending on the home inspection results. The hotter the market, the more concessions buyers are under pressure to make. Be sure you understand the risks, and don’t waive any protections you can’t afford.

Buying your first home in Berks County can be a rewarding and life-changing experience if you know your limits, know what to expect, know what you want, control your emotions, and stick to your priorities.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate articles and local Berks County articles. We can help you find the perfect home for sale in Reading and the surrounding communities of Blandon, Boyertown, Douglassville, Exeter Township, Fleetwood, Kutztown, and Oley with our powerful property search tool.