Top 5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

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Posted on: 27 June 2016 by Emily Hayde

Buying a house is a big deal. For most people, a home is the largest investment they’ll ever make in their life.

It’s great to find yourself in a situation where you can truly own a home of your own, and no longer a tenant paying rent toward something that will never actually belong to you. If you want to own your dream home, you’ll have to avoid getting caught up in the moment and making impulsive decisions. Some of the decisions you make may not seem impulsive on the surface, but a little digging may prove that they are.

1. Consider the Longevity of a Home

You may not have kids now, but do you plan to have kids in the future? Will there be room for them in your home? Is it located in a good school district? You also need to think about what the future holds for the area. Is it becoming more crowded and developed? Will you still want to live there when the population density rises? It may be great now, but you need to make sure it will remain great for the next decade or so.

2. Make Sure You’re Getting a Fair Price

You’ve found a great house for $15,000 under your budget! What a great discovery! Or at least it seems that way. Are you sure you aren’t getting ripped off? Make sure that the home you’re researching is priced appropriately. Explore similar properties in the area with Gumtree to see what comparable properties list for. Just because something seems like a bargain doesn’t mean it is one. A first time home buyer may not be able to tell when they’re overpaying, so it helps to research the local housing market as thoroughly as possible.

3. Get to Know The Neighborhood

Beautiful home, reasonable price, and a short commute to work. It all sounds like the perfect package deal. A lot of people probably felt the same way about the neighborhood, and that’s why they live there. But what about these people? Are they the kind of people that like to have raging house parties until 4 AM on weeknights? Do they have a smelly compost pile up against your fence line? Your neighbors are your neighbors, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Make sure everyone can coexist.

4. Always Inspect the Home Thoroughly

You’d be surprised what a few coats of paint can hide, and you never know how well a roof will hold up until it rains. Before you make an offer on the property, have it inspected. If there’s damage that needs fixing, or signs of a deeper issue (such as faulty electrical or bad plumbing), avoid making an offer on the home. If you like it anyway, talk to the realtor about deducting the costs of necessary repairs before making your offer.

5. Approach Your Budget Rationally

After you make a down payment on the home, what are you going to pay your bills with? If you want to paint and renovate, where is that money coming from? You might think you can afford more than you actually can. Be forward thinking with your budget. You don’t have to spend everything you have set aside, and you shouldn’t. Remember to save some money for unexpected expenses, or anything you want to change about your home.

Being a first-time homeowner is a joyous experience. It’s one of life’s greatest milestones, and it allows you to celebrate your personal successes. Just make sure you’re approaching the situation the right way, and not getting swept away by flights of fancy that can give you unrealistic expectations about finding and purchasing a home.

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Emily Hayde

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