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Should I Buy or Rent?

In this video, we sit down with a real first time homebuyer to discuss how to decide if you should buy a home or continue to rent. We also talk about the home buying process and what you as a first time homebuyer can expect when you purchase your first home.


KRISTIE: Hi everyone, I’m Kristie Forsman with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty and I’m so excited to be bringing you this brand new video series all about buying your first home.

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In this video, we sit down with a real first time homebuyer to discuss how to decide if you should buy a home or continue to rent. We also talk about the home buying process and what you as a first time homebuyer can expect when you purchase your first home.


KRISTIE: Hi everyone, I’m Kristie Forsman with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty and I’m so excited to be bringing you this brand new video series all about buying your first home.

KRISTIE: So, to kick things off we’re going to talk about one of the most commonly asked questions in real estate and that is… should I buy or should I rent? So, today I have a very special guest star with me, his name is Chris Petry and he’s our corporate videographer here at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

CHRIS: Hello everyone.

KRISTIE: So, Chris, you just became a first time homebuyer, what four weeks ago?

CHRIS: Yeah, we actually closed mid-way through April.

KRISTIE: Wow, congratulations!

CHRIS: Really exciting.

KRISTIE: Yeah. So you were renting before, correct?

CHRIS: I was, indeed. I had a one-bedroom apartment in Forest Hills for about six and a half years.


CHRIS: And every year (when) the lease renewal came up, the price continued to increase. So, I started looking around and I said, “Is this my only option? Is there something else I can do?”

KRISTIE: Right. That’s a question a lot of people face, you know? You’re renting for a while and you get to that point where you say “Does this make more sense, or should I start looking at buying a home?”

So Chris, you’re kind of in a unique position here because you work for a real estate company agency. So, you’re constantly around real estate agents. I know you started talking with a couple agents that you know through the company; can you tell us about that experience?

CHRIS: Sure. As you said, I spoke to a couple agents from the company and I wasn’t entirely sure how to get the process started at all! Because I was new to it. So, I found an agent that was, best accommodated to what I was trying to do or what I was looking for…

KRISTIE: Yeah, that’s important that you find an agent that’s going to communicate in the same way that you want to.

CHRIS: Yep, she was fantastic.

KRISTIE: Wonderful.

CHRIS: And, the first thing she told me was that I needed a preapproval letter.

KRISTIE: Okay. For those of you watching that don’t know what a mortgage preapproval is, it’s a letter from your lender that tells you how much you can afford.

KRISTIE: So, you got your preapproval. Now what?

CHRIS: Well, from there you have to start looking for properties.


CHRIS: So, what she (my agent) did, which was really cool, is she put me on an MLS auto notification list. Which meant that every time a property came up that was in my price range or in the area that I was looking for, I got an e-mail and I could check it out online.

KRISTIE: Wow! That probably saved you a lot of time.

CHRIS: Oh yes, absolutely.

KRISTIE: So, you were getting these e-mails, you were seeing the houses that were on the market and were meeting your criteria. So, I’m sure you saw some that you wanted to see in person, now how did you go about that?

CHRIS: Okay, well… again, I spoke to my agent about where we go from here and she said the next thing would be, obviously, to schedule some viewings of the properties in person. So, she contacted the selling agent and was able to get us into the house.

KRISTIE: Wonderful. So how many houses did you end up seeing?

CHRIS: About half a dozen.

KRISTIE: Okay. So you saw six houses and obviously one of those houses you said to yourself, “This is it, this is the house I’m going to buy.” So, when you figured out which house that was, what did you do?

CHRIS: Well, once you do find that house you like, you place an offer.

KRISTIE: How do you go about placing an offer?

CHRIS: First I spoke to my agent again and I said how do we go about this. She said what we should do and she did price comparables for properties of the same size, the same price, same area… just to see what things were selling for.

KRISTIE: For a fair price.

CHRIS: And then, we worked out a price that we thought we were comfortable submitting to the selling agent.

KRISTIE: Okay, so you submitted your offer. Did the sellers counteroffer?

CHRIS: Fortunately for me, they did not. 

KRISTIE: That’s wonderful. So your offer was accepted, now what?

CHRIS: Well, the next part was I had to have a home inspection. So, we called a professional to come out to look at the house to assess its overall condition and make sure that nothing was going to need any immediate huge repairs and he came up with a list of these kinds of repairs that we then submitted back to the seller.

KRISTIE: Okay, and what did you do with that list of repairs he suggested?

CHRIS: Well, we submitted it to the selling agent and then she obviously showed it to the sellers and lucky for me the sellers were very accommodating. They actually kicked in to help pay for some of the repairs.

KRISTIE: Wow, that’s fabulous.

KRISTIE: So, I think one thing that a lot of perspective homebuyers don’t realize is that before you purchase your home, you do get an inspection. So you have a professional going in there and making sure that everything is working and that the house is in good order. And, if it’s not, they’re going to give you a list of repairs.

And then from there, if they do find anything that needs repaired, you can do what Chris’ agent did and she negotiated repairs and the sellers were able to make those. You could also renegotiate that price.

KRISTIE: If there are repairs, maybe the sellers could go a little bit lower on the price. And your third option is really just to walk away. So, if you say, “I really don’t want to deal with these repairs,” you can just go and look for another house.

KRISTIE: So, you got your inspection and one other thing you were telling me was that your agent also negotiated a home warranty into your contract?

CHRIS: That’s true, yes, the home warranty is good for up to a year and it covers anything that might happen in that first year that would be detrimental to your finances. Such as your appliances or your heating and air unit going out.

KRISTIE: My washer just went out so I totally just used that on my own home.

CHIRS: It’s great.

KRISTIE: That’s great because I know a lot of people are hesitant to leave renting because, if something just stops working call your landlord and they come over and fix it. But, it’s great knowing that with a home warranty, as a homeowner, somebody is going to come over and fix that and you’re not going to be paying a lot of money to get things fixed.

CHRIS: Certainly.

KRISTIE: That’s great. Okay, so about this time you’re probably also finalizing your mortgage.

CHRIS: Yes, my agent put me in touch with a mortgage representative who then started the paperwork. She wanted copies of my bank statements, my W-2s, my last couple year’s income tax returns. And all this was, of course, to determine my financial eligibility to make sure I could make those payments.

KRISTIE: So, did you notice going through this process that there were some special programs available to first time homebuyers?

CHRIS: Yes, I was relieved to find out there were a lot of programs actually available for first time homebuyers. One of the most important I feel, is the one I used, was the FHA Loan. Which is exclusively for first time homebuyers, and it also affords you up to 6% in seller assist.

KRISTIE: That’s wonderful. And I think a lot of times renters think, “I can’t buy a home right now. I don’t have 20% down to put on a house!” But with an FHA loan and some of the other first time home buying loans, you can put down as little as 3%. So, that’s great.

KRISTIE: And, Chris mentioned Seller Assist. Seller’s Assist is a credit that sellers give you that you can use toward your closing. So that also makes that, buying a first home more affordable.

KRISTIE: So, another thing you mentioned was that your monthly mortgage payment now is actually lower than your rent.

CHRIS: It is. Which was one of the prime motivations when I started, early on… when I started looking at other rental properties, I thought, “I’m not getting a lot in my price range, a lot in the area that I want.” So when I started considering buying, I was relieved to find that a lot of the mortgage approximations were a lot lower than I was paying in rent every month for no equity.

KRISTIE: Absolutely. And one thing you mentioned to me is that you also had a fixed rate mortgage.

CHRIS: Yes, which is very beneficial to you in a lot of ways. One being that it never changes with the marketplace or because your landlord decides they want to raise the rent. Which would happen almost every year when you’re renting a property.

KRISTIE: Yeah, it definitely can.

CHRIS: So every month I know how much I’m going to pay for the entirety of the 30-year fixed mortgage.

KRISTIE: Cool. So you have the mortgage done, you have the inspection done, you’re good to go… it’s closing day, tell us about that experience.

CHRIS: I have to admit I was very nervous for a long time leading up to the closing. Particularly that week right before. But once I walked out I thought to myself, “Why was I so nervous?” It went over much smoother than I could’ve ever imagined.

KRISTIE: You had an agent that had your back too.

CHRIS: Yeah. The agent was great… it was fantastic because I got to meet the sellers for the first time, which I hear is very common that you don’t meet the sellers until the closing. I got to ask them some more intimate questions about the property, about the community, things such as… I was new to the area. I don’t know where to grocery shop, you know, what if I want a pizza at midnight…

KRISTIE: You need to know where that one is! That’s for sure.

CHRIS: Yes, I mean, so it was nice to have that. And then also the biggest relief, the biggest benefit, is when you walk out the door, you have your keys in your hand and you are the owner of that property.

KRISTIE: Yeah, you’re a homeowner. That’s wonderful. And congratulations.

CHRIS: Oh, thank you.

KRISTIE: : So Chris, if there’s anyone watching today that’s thinking about buying their first home, what piece of advice would you give them?

CHRIS: Don’t worry so much. Don’t fret it. It is entirely within the realm of possibility. You too can be a homeowner.

KRISTIE: Absolutely. And if there is anyone watching and you’re starting to think about buying your first home, we would love to help you. You can get more information on our website at or you can call any one of our local real estate agents and they will help you with this.

KRISTIE: Thank you so much for coming on the show today Chris. And thank you to all of you who are out there watching.

KRISTIE: Please stay tuned because next time we’re going to have a loan representative come out and talk just a little a bit more about how you finance your first home. So, thanks again for watching!  


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