When hunting for your first home, you need to do more than just shoot in the dark. After all, this is a huge investment, one of the most important decisions we make in life. Therefore, get familiar with the ins and outs of the process and set your priorities straight. Stay focused to steer away from common pitfalls and surprises that come later. You will have to weigh different factors and only then take the plunge. So, before diving in, take a deep breath and come up with a plan as sound as a dollar.
First of all, finances are the copper-bottomed bedrock of your decision-making process. So, identify the best possible source of financing the purchase. Figure out the budget and be crystal-clear on how much you are prepared to spend and how much you can afford to spend. It pays off to estimate how long you plan to stay in the new home. Melting all your savings away is not a good idea unless you are going to stick with it for more than five or six years.
Furthermore, write down everything you want from your new home. Develop a deeper understanding of various types of properties with regards to the overall home design and style to gain a sense of perspective. Right off the bat, separate the essentials from nice-to-haves. Most people go for a healthy combination of wishes and needs, but I would say that the balance should always tip a bit in favor of the latter. Therefore, be prepared to do some compromising, especially if you live with other people.
The scrutiny of reality
Always determine the location you are aiming for and take a look at multiple display homes and open houses. This is a good reality check for your expectations and dreams. You will also be able to overcome the learning curve and get a handle on things. To keep track of everything you have seen, create a comparison chart or a checklist. Bring it with you every time you inspect a new home. Take notes, ask if you can take photos, and sketch a floor plan.
Just do not think that these things are a substitute for a good old home inspection. In fact, this is still an absolute must. In case you are not feeling overly confident and lack the necessary knowledge, rely on professional inspectors, who are usually able to bring any potential issue to light. They can make the entire process less stressful, which will let you focus on your impressions and soak it all in. Take your time and tour every corner of the property.
Measure twice, cut once
Ask yourself the crucial questions and do not shy away from answering them honestly. Get down to the basics like a number of rooms and their size. Apart from that, just like any homebuyer, you absolutely need to take into account the fundamentals, such as the roof condition, the exterior of the building, landscaping, storage space, lighting, insulation, HVAC system, structural integrity, plumbing, and electrical installations. Assess the furniture situation and take measurements as needed.
Note that paint choice is not as important as room layout. Thus, do not get swept away by charming features and see the big picture. Bear in mind that the right details and decorative touches go a long way in enabling you to personalize the space and make it feel like a true home. Try to recognize the potential of the space and do not just get caught in what you see before your eyes.
Pay attention to warning signs, the so-called red flags and deal-breakers of home buying. Nevertheless, know that with some smart planning and creative thinking, it is possible to overcome even the more serious issues. You may not be getting a separate dining room or a home office, but how about using a screen or a tall bookshelf to divide the space? Just make sure to factor in all the needed fix-ups and renovation projects when summing up the overall expenses of owning the property.
The hunt is on
The quest for a new home is both a thrilling adventure and a series of trials and tribulations. To finish it with a smile on your face, you need to arm yourself with knowledge as well as relevant facts and figures. Buying a home for the first time must be more than a leap of faith. So, let your must-haves guide you and do not blow the budget in the process. You will prevent the financial turmoil, buyer’s remorse, and built-in resentment from coming to haunt you later down the road.
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Writer: Lana Hawkins
Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.