Buying a home for the first time can be an exciting experience, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong if you don’t do your due diligence first.
Before you even begin the house hunting process it’s essential to stock up on some words of wisdom that will save you some time, effort, and money.
Below are 30 practical and useful home buying tips for the first time home buyer.
- Start with a list of the possible locations where you would want to live.
- If you start driving around in your desired area, you might find some ideal subdivisions to settle.
- Find out just how much you can afford. Use mortgage calculators to get an idea.
- Take the time to look at as many houses as you can before making the decision to buy one. If you haven’t found one that’s right for you yet, have patience and keep looking.
- It takes longer to close a deal on short sales which have not been pre-approved as compared to standard sales or foreclosures.
- Before you even enter the home, check the neighborhood. Bad neighbors can quickly depreciate the value of the whole neighborhood.
- When you see dirty walls, don’t make this the reason why you would dismiss a house. Make sure you discount a house because of major factors and not because of minor repair issues.
- Don’t be turned off by “ugly houses”. These usually come cheap, and with a few tweaks, you can increase the value by about $20,000.
- It pays to check the basement first when assessing a house, see if the water heater or furnace is rusting, and ask how old it is.
- While in the basement, check for mold.
- Tubs can be re-glazed, if you don’t like the one that comes with the house.
- If you already have existing furniture, make sure you consider the size of the rooms with the stuff you already have.
- A damaged pool can cost you about $10,000 to repair.
- Paint colors can be easily fixed, try to look beyond awful color combinations.
- When making an offer, be sure to research about comparable home prices to see if you’re getting a good deal, or if you can use the information to haggle a lower price.
- When you finally need to buy new appliances, go for those that have Energy Star certifications. You can get tax credit, plus contribute to the environment.
- Investment properties can increase in value by easy cosmetic repairs such as repairing an old porch or deck to up the curb appeal of the home.
- Once you’ve felt a connection to the house, be sure to assess the neighborhood as well. Drive around during different times of the day and assess if the area is noisy, or if the community fits your requirements.
- Generally, areas that are close to schools, hospitals, and big grocery stores have better resale value. This can also be highly convenient for you especially when you have kids.
- Check as many listings as you can.
- When inspecting the property, look up. Make sure the roof has no cracks and that it is not leaking.
- Check to see if the water heater and furnace are easily accessible for future repairs.
- FHA loans can help those who have low loan credit due to a lower income.
- Websites such as Quizzle.com can give you a free credit score and report.
- Don’t be easily taken by a well painted house. Try to see beyond the new paint and focus on the structure. In some cases, new paint is used to hide defects in the wall, so make sure to look closely.
- Want to pay your home off faster? Try a Bi-Monthly Payment or Save 1/12th of your mortgage each month. At the end of the year send in an additional payment.
- Want Flexibility? Get a 30 year mortgage over a 15 year mortgage.
- Limit your mortgage, taxes and insurance to 25% of your net income! Trust me on this one you will thank me later. In essence, this prevents you from buying too much house and allows you to be flexible so you can adjust to the changes that happen in life.
- You can’t deny the expertise of real estate agents or brokers. They do know the market, and they have a wide range of properties that they can show you. But, please please please use them to augment your own research. You’re about to do 6 figure deal. Act like your life depends on it.. because in reality.. your financial life does!
- Get an agent or broker you can trust, or look for the top broker in popular realities. Once again, follow the principles of item 29.
When it comes to buying a home, there are more points that you can consider, but these are some of the most basic.
You should be sure to review this list before setting out on your journey, and feel free to add to it if you find other useful tips.
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What can you add to the list? Was your home buying search easy and quick or long and difficult? What advice would you give someone who is looking to buy a home?