First time buyers often approach the real estate process with fear and intimidation. Over and over again, these novices express not only their uncertainty about how to proceed, but also their panic at the thought of rejection. Actually, many tenants would be terrific candidates for buying, but continue to pay rent. They do this simply to avoid the possible embarrassment of not qualifying for a loan. Time and again, they speak of the “What if I don’t qualify ?” moment.
When asked, “What do you think will happen to you if you don’t qualify?” these folks can only shrug. Somehow, their thoughts never extend past that one terrible moment in time. They see themselves sitting across from a real estate professional, providing all their personal information, and being rejected. The pain, the shame, the long walk out of the office, who knows what horrors their imaginations conjure?
This mental anguish is more easily understood when you consider the enormity of the occasion. Buying a home still represents the single, largest, financial obligation most people will ever undertake. In addition, no one is *born* with home buying knowledge and experience, so everyone is bound to feel some degree of discomfort at the start.
In the past, truth be told, many first time buyers only took the plunge when the pain of paying rent exceeded the pain of facing the unknown. They contemplated house hunting after realizing how, by forking over rent, they were already making someone else’s monthly mortgage payment (their landlord’s). They became motivated once they understood that their landlord also received tax and appreciation benefits derived from home ownership, while they had nothing to show for their rent payments but canceled checks. At some point, they overcame their anxiety and called an agent, or a lender.
Today, thanks primarily to the WWW (world wide web), no one need postpone the home buying process for even one second because of the dreaded, face-to-face “What If moment”. The Internet is the perfect, non-confrontational, impersonal starting place for gathering information. With it, anyone can begin the journey from tenant to home owner.
Consumers seeking on-line advice about real estate may be certain that the pros and cons of all aspects of the process are discussed, dissected, and analyzed somewhere on the Web: Do I qualify? How much do I qualify for? What do I do if my credit isn’t perfect? How much of a down payment do I need? Can I buy now, or do I continue to rent? What kind of mortgage? If I don’t qualify now, is there something I can do to qualify in the future? You name it, it’s there. (One of the best places to start is Mortgage101.com )
With such a wealth of knowledge and information instantaneously available, consumers can obtain all the facts they need. In addition, beginners can receive all of the “intestinal fortitude” they desire, without ever leaving the comfort and safety of their living room. Support for inexperienced buyers is only a click away. The Internet plays host to numerous forums and news groups specializing in the sharing of home-buying experiences. Here, beginners post messages. Those postings which express questions and concerns normally receive a flood of enthusiastic responses. Over and over, the replies assure the newcomer that many people have “been there-done that” and are now glad they did!
Preaching To The Choir
Unfortunately, as is often the case, the benefits described above are not reaching the very people who need them most. Those of you now reading this are, hopefully, already aware of the potency of the Internet. While some may be more adept at using the Internet for problem-solving and information-gathering than others, anyone who spends even a short time surfing the Web understands its ability to educate and empower. And each day, new web sites with expanded services in the real estate field come on-line, adding to the already significant role the Internet plays in the home-buying process.
Be A Friend, Spread The Word
On a daily basis, how many people are able to perform random acts of kindness that can actually change the quality of someone else’s life? Think of the people you know who are renting, and who may not yet know about the amazing amount of information residing on the Internet. For starters, tell them about Real Times ….
They’ll thank you.
Written by Judi Wolfson and Elaine Shreiber