First Time Home Buyer: Not as Easy as HGTV

First Time Home Buyer: Not as Easy as HGTV

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My family is a big fan of HGTV, the formally named “home & garden television” network. HGTV hasn’t lost its theme, but its four-letter nomenclature is simply easier to remember.

This network features a number of shows for the first time or new home buyer. “House Hunters” is one of our favorites as is “Property Virgins.” Perhaps our favorite show is “My First Place” as this show follows the trials and tribulations of home buyers all across America.

First Place

One thing that can be sometimes lost on the viewer is that “My First Place” seems like a walk in the park for the new homeowner. Like other HGTV shows of the same genre, viewers see home shoppers review three homes and then make a decision which typically leads to a home purchase. Not bad for 30 minutes of drama!

In reality, first time home buyers go through plenty of drama off camera, and not always with the home that they are buying. These shows may not always make it clear that shoppers look at many homes when they’re in the market to buy, with just three featured for airing.

Let’s take a look at some of the behind the scenes drama first time home buyers may experience:

Mortgage approval — Unless your credit is stellar, you may have difficulty qualifying for the home of your dreams. By the time most first time home buyers are featured on HGTV, they’re already mortgage approved. This ensures that each show always produces a successful outcome.

Full agreement — It is wonderful to think that husband and wife have the same tastes in home buying and magically come to an agreement on which home to buy. This is polar opposite of the truth: many couples struggle to find a home that they both like — agreeing on essentials is difficult especially when schools must be considered, commutes to work weighed and a host of home layout issues tackled, inside and out.

Bidding wars — In one recent show, the husband wanted to offer a bid that was 20 percent lower than the asking price. As most people know, that’s a no-no and likely to insult the seller. A realtor friend convinced the couple to come in strong, but their initial offer was still about $30,000 less than the selling price. The sellers rejected the initial offer, but counter offered by lowering their price by $5,000. When all was said and done the couple accepted a price that was $10,000 less than the listed price, agreeing to handle most of the repairs their home inspector advised. That’s the way it goes in most markets — buyers and sellers wrangle, but low-balling can cause huge problems.

Moving In — Magically, HGTV transports viewers to the future, by showing everyone how the happy homeowners fared several months after closing on their home. We don’t see their moving day, we never find out how the new owners settled on furnishing their house nor do we know how renovations were handled. The HGTV follow ups always present a home that is well staged, immaculate and virtually problem free. You have to wonder if the owners simply have it all together or whether the station gave the buyers a helping hand.

This isn’t meant to criticize HGTV, rather to point out that the process for buying a home can be mentally and physically exhausting. There are many pitfalls that take place off camera and what you see is a dressed up final copy. Your experience will be unique, but know this: you have to have the fortitude to see the process through, even much more of a challenge when a short sale is involved.

See AlsoWhere to Start When Buying Your First Home?

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Categories: General News

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".