Buying a home can be scary. There is a lot of money at stake and you are staking your reputation on your ability to make payments on that home. A simple mistake or bad choice can costs thousands of dollars in the long, or even the short run. After many mistakes that I have made, here is a list of the six tips that I think are most important to a new homebuyer
1. Know what you are looking for
Too often people start looking for a home without a really good idea of exactly what they want. They start to discover what they are looking for as they search for a home, but often end up purchasing a home that they didn’t necessarily want under the guise that “it is pretty nice”.
A few things to think about are the number of bathrooms, a family room, the size of the kitchen, the size of the yard, and really the size of every single room. You can find what you are looking for by looking online at what is available. There are many for sale by owner sites that you can go on to look at homes for free in this stage.
2. Know your landscaping
A lot of people purchase a home because they are sold by the beautiful landscaping that has been done. They don’t realize that in order for the home to be landscaped that beautifully, it likely has had a lot of work put into it. After owning the home for a year or so, the landscaping starts to deteriorate. The grass dies, flowers don’t get planted, and weeds takeover.
If the home has good landscaping, take time to figure out how much would need to be done to maintain that landscape.
3. Don’t settle
This home is where you will spend a majority of your time for the next few years at least. Many homebuyers get frustrated while looking and assume that they just need to settle for something less. While this is true for some people with high expectations, oftentimes you can get nearly exactly what you want if you wait. There are thousands of homes going on the market every single day and they all are a little different. Take your time and you will likely find one that excites you.
4. Look in the outskirts
The outskirts of most cities are much cheaper than the main city. Many people buy an old, small home in the city but don’t ever realize that 15 minutes outside of the city there is a nicer, newer home. If you are willing to drive a little further for work, school, etc. then a home just outside of the city may be the best option for you.
5. Don’t feel bad making offers
Making offers on homes is the name of the game. If you think a home may have potential, make an offer and test it out. You are not locking yourself in if you make an offer, and you usually have a couple of weeks at least to back out. If you think the home has potential and could see yourself living in it, make the offer. If something better comes along, it is easy to cancel.
6. Look at utility costs
Many people do not realize that utility costs vary from city to city. Just because your total utility bill was $200 in one city, does not mean you will pay similar expenses in the next city. Oftentimes newer cities have more expensive utilities because they are trying to pay off debts that they took on to build the necessary infrastructure. Your home may also be bigger, meaning utilities will cost more.
While this list is not everything a new homebuyer needs to know, the advice here would have saved me a lot of heartache in many of my home purchases. Good luck!
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