When asked why she got her real estate license more than 16 years ago, Katie Wethman responded simply: “It’s personal for me.”
Back in 2010, the long-time Arlington resident was looking for a home, and she felt like no one could clearly explain the process or answer her questions. So, she got her license and began teaching first-time homebuyer classes.
“It can be a really overwhelming process for first-time and even second-time homebuyers because people only buy a couple of houses in their entire life,” said Wethman, who’s now the managing director of the Wethman Group.
In her class, which she’s been teaching for more than 15 years, Wethman breaks down the process, eliminating the overwhelming stress many homebuyers experience.
We recently caught up with Wethman, who was voted one of Arlington’s top real estate agents for first-time homebuyers in the 2021 Winter Arlies. She shared some of her best advice for first-time buyers (or, really, any homebuyer).
1. Find the right team
When buying a home, it’s essential you work with a team you trust. Of course, this includes a real estate agent.
“If you have that, everything else will fall into place,” Wethman said.
The agents at Wethman Group are there to be your advocate, to help you make the best, most informed decision possible.
“Right now, the market is so hot that it’s really hard to separate a logical decision from the emotion and the pressure and excitement,” Wethman said. “That’s our role — to remove the emotion and point out the negative as well as the positive so you can make an informed decision instead of a rushed emotional decision.”
Another piece of the puzzle people is finding the right lender — someone who can work quickly and counsel you on different loan programs. Wethman and her team are happy to connect buyers with one of their recommended lenders.
2. Talk honestly about expectations and trade-offs
When Wethman’s team connects with a new buyer, they typically schedule two meetings so they can get to know one another, outline the homebuying process and answer any questions.
They’ll also make a list of must-have, nice-to-have and deal breakers when it comes to a home.
“Too many people waste time trying to find that needle in the haystack,” Wethman said. She encourages buyers to remember “everything in the search process is trade-offs and decisions between price, condition and location.”
Wethman’s team also performs historical analyses to see how often your perfect house is likely to come on the market.
3. Just get started, there’s no pressure
It’s no secret the real estate market is hot in Arlington right now, and that can be intimidating for first-time homebuyers. If you’re interested in buying a home — or even if you’re just a tad curious — Wethman encourages you to connect with her team.
“I think sometimes people are afraid to start the process because they don’t want to be pressured,” Wethman said.
She’s all about building long-term relationships. In fact, she’s had people reach out five years after initially connecting, finally ready to make a move.
“Sometimes the right answer is to keep renting and just keep in touch,” she said. “We’re your consultant, and we’re going to give you the right advice. It’s the same advice we’d give a good friend or family member.”
If you’re interested in exploring the homebuying journey, Wethman and her team are happy to help.