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The New Normal? Insights for First-Time Home Buyers



The real estate landscape is ever-evolving, with recent changes posing challenges for both agents and buyers alike. However, one group that’s particularly feeling the impact is first-time home buyers, who may find themselves facing added costs when purchasing their dream home. Lindsey Harn, a respected residential real estate agent and owner of Lindsey Harn Group in San Luis Obispo, California, sheds light on these concerns and offers valuable insights for navigating the current market.

“It’s going to be a little bit more stressful for them,” says Harn, referring to first-time buyers. “They now have maybe been saving for the last several years just to get to the 5, 10, or 20 percent down, and now you’re going to have to navigate, ‘What if the seller’s not going to pay my agent?’ Is this going to be an added cost?”

In response to these challenges, Harn highlights recent developments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “They’re going to allow the seller to credit the buyer up to 3 percent toward closing costs, and they’ll also allow the seller to credit a concession that the buyer can use to pay their agent,” explains Harn. This flexibility can help alleviate some of the financial strain on first-time buyers, making homeownership more attainable.

Furthermore, Harn advises her clients to consider taking advantage of selling now, especially with the potential for increased inventory later in the year. “Talk to a couple of agents, and then really find out if they specialize in the neighborhoods and price ranges that you’re looking for, and ask for some success stories,” suggests Harn. By seeking guidance from experienced agents who understand their needs, buyers can make informed decisions and navigate the market with confidence.

Looking ahead, Harn predicts a shift towards a new normal in real estate. “I honestly think things are going to settle into a new normal, where if you have a property you’re marketing to first-time buyers or entry-level buyers, most sellers are still going to want to keep the biggest pool open,” she explains. “So I think first-time buyers might offer 2.5 percent higher than the asking price and ask for a concession, and cash buyers or buyers that are wealthier will probably offer less and then offer to pay their agent directly to save money and keep their property taxes lower.”

While the real estate landscape may be evolving, first-time home buyers have options and resources available to navigate these changes successfully. By staying informed, seeking guidance from experienced professionals like Lindsey Harn, and exploring available assistance programs, buyers can overcome obstacles and achieve their homeownership dreams.