Pro Tips for First Time Homebuyers from The Mike McCann Team


Are you embarking on the life-changing, dream-fulfilling process of purchasing a home?  All of us here at The Mike McCann Team understand that this process is not always easy and can create its fair share of anxiety.  These feelings are only natural when making big life decisions – even working with the best real estate agent in the world won’t alleviate every fear that comes along with the purchasing process, but there are many things that you can do to make your experience as painless as possible. Follow these pro-tips from the Mike McCann Team agents so you’re able to seamlessly accomplish your goals while avoiding any bumps in the road.

Mike McCann

“The number one thing that a first-time buyer should understand is the preapproval process, which allows buyers to accurately figure out how much money they will need and what their potential monthly payments will be. Once they know this information, they can easily pinpoint what their price range really is.

First-time buyers tend to be unfamiliar with the real estate market, so I always make a point to explain the preapproval process and how it benefits them!”

Ryan McCann

“The best thing to do is to make sure that you pick a great agent! I recommend seeking out someone who is dedicated to real estate as their full time career and who has a good amount of knowledge and experience. You want someone who is accessible and professional. Having a quality agent is essential for this process, and you want to make sure that they meet your needs. And always remember – ask a lot of questions!

Additionally, you really need to decide what you’re looking for. You must have a good idea of the neighborhood, home size, amenities, and price range that you are seeking. Have your agent educate you about the process, and take time out of your schedule to learn what inventory is currently on the market. Your agent should educate you about the ins and outs of the houses that you view so that you are as prepared as possible and aware of exactly what you are purchasing.

Don’t forget to get your finances in line. Your credit score is going to play a big role at this time – pay off debt and save, save, save!

Finally, make sure that you take a lot of deep breaths, trust your agent, and rely on them!”

Stuart Cohen

“I always tell first time buyers to have some imagination. There is no perfect home – be flexible with what you are buying, because once you move in, you’ll be able to turn it into your dream home!”


Pam Rosser Thistle

“For first time buyers in Philadelphia, it is important to know where you are. Values and prices change from neighborhood to neighborhood, as do the types of homes and condos that are for sale. For example, new construction with a fresh tax abatement is most common right now in places like Point Breeze and Fishtown. In Graduate Hospital, you will find many 5- and 7-year-old homes, and in all areas of Philadelphia, you’ll come upon older housing. Furthermore, on a street like Panama in Fitler Square, a home may be half the size of a house on Cedar Ave. in University City, yet they’re priced the same.

Get a sense of property values and get your expectations in line with the places and prices that are out there!”


Paul Chin

“As we all know in real estate, location matters. First-time homebuyers must be comfortable with the property and the neighborhood – they are buying both!”


Richard A. Fravel, Jr.

“Pre-approval! Pre-approval! Pre-approval!  If you don’t have your mortgage pre-approval in hand on day one of your home search, you’re just sightseeing, you’re not home-hunting. Get pre-approved by a local, hands-on, reputable mortgage representative who will return your calls quickly.”


Melissa Valenti

“Work with a realtor who is an expert in the area that you are interested in.  Really get to know the neighborhood by spending time in the community and talking to neighbors!”


Bibe Chin

“All buyers should stay within their budget and be absolutely sure that they are comfortable with their monthly payment.  It’s crucial to be practical and find a house that meets your needs within your means.”


Lauren Acker

“Get pre-approved! Be sure that you know exactly what you will need for down payment and closing costs, as well as for your monthly payments. Once you find the home you love, you will need to move quickly, so you don’t want to waste time figuring out your finances after you have found the house you love.”


Jim Onesti

“I always urge buyers not to present unrealistically low offers. These types of offers practically guarantee a long negotiation process, allowing other offers to come in from other buyers during this long, drawn-out time frame.”


Ame Goldman

“First off, I tell everyone to have patience. It doesn’t matter if you are buying or selling a home, patience is paramount!

Additionally, I always tell buyers to write down a list of “must haves” for a home.  Close your eyes and imagine walking into your home – what would you absolutely need to see?  If these are “must haves,” be prepared to compromise on possible other items such as location so that you can get as many “must haves” as possible.  Sometimes looking 3-6 blocks in one direction makes a huge difference on sale price.

Don’t forget to be prepared for a lot of paperwork and jargon that you have not heard before.  Ask questions! This is likely the biggest purchase that you will ever make.”


Daniel Evenchen

“I recommend interviewing your agent. This is a very important investment, so make sure that your agent is especially well-versed in the local market where you’re house hunting.”


Lynda Krevitz

“When looking to purchase for the first time, I recommend speaking with a lender before you start your search so that you understand all the charges that go along with purchasing a home (such as the down payment, transfer  tax, lender charges, and more).  Once you’re fully aware of what you will need to bring to the table, get pre-approved for the amount that you are comfortable with and then contact a realtor that you feel truly understands your wants and needs. You will then be able to explore all options that are available to you.

When buying a home, especially for the first time, it is imperative to get the feeling that you can really see yourself living there for a long time!”

We hope that these tips help you feel more comfortable and assured as you begin your search for a new home. Our agents love helping clients and are extremely passionate about making their dreams come true. If you keep these tips in mind as you move forward in the homebuying process, it’ll be smooth sailing – and, of course, don’t forget to make sure you have a qualified and dedicated agent by your side to guide you through the real estate market. Good luck and happy house hunting!

Moving? Know the value of your home …