Buying your first home is one of the most important things you can do. That’s why you really need to think about your purchase and ensure you make the right one. Here are 10 top tips for first-time home buyers from property experts Tim Manning.
Think in the long-term and consider resale value
Do you want to have kids? Will you be taking care of your parents? If your first home is temporary, then who will it be sold to? You’ll find families with children won’t want to buy a home without a school nearby or on busy streets.
Make a check list
The home buying process is an emotional one. You need to leave your emotions at the door when checking a house. This isn’t possible. So just write a list of everything your home must have and other essentials. Take this checklist with you to each house and check off the things on the list. Take photos as well. That way you’ll have to think about a home that you fall in love with but doesn’t have anything you need.
Consider all the expenses
There’s more to buying a house than the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. There’s also the cost of utilities, commuting, and upgrading the house. Call utility companies and ask for estimates and put together a real budget for the new home to ensure you can afford to live there.
Ask for the Homeowners Association contract first
Make sure you read through the Homeowners Association contract. You wouldn’t want to buy a house to rent only to learn that the house can’t be rented out. Ask for the contract in advance when buying a home that’s part of an HOA.
Research funding sources such as grants
There are a lot of grants and sources of funding you might not even know exist. Some of them are pretty generous too and are offered based on professionals and the location of the house. Look through every finance option you have before deciding you wouldn’t qualify anyway.
Read the contract before signing it
Your house will likely be the largest single purchase you ever make. Read through – and understand – the contract. Talk to your mortgage broker and real estate agent about anything you don’t understand and fire them if they aren’t willing to explain it. There are lots of people who would be willing to help if you need it.
Learn about the demographics of the neighborhood
When living in a neighborhood of renters, the whole neighborhood can be brought down by some bad renters or landlords. Also, would you be happy to live in a neighborhood of single people when you’ve got young kids? Consider your new neighbors.
Buy the view if you like it
You shouldn’t buy a house for the view unless you own the view as well. There’s no telling when a new building project will pop up between your house and that stunning woodland area. Buy the view itself if you have to (and can).
Look beyond staging
No one really appreciates how much staging a house goes through. Staged houses look infinitely better than occupied ones. Sometimes the staged look of a home isn’t even possible; such as having lamps that look nice where there are no outlets! Pay attention, not to the staging of the house, but the overall layout and structure. You can always redecorate.
All that old advice you were given is true
You should always have an emergency fund; you should save for a 20% downpayment; you should improve your credit score; avoid buying above your means. All of this old advice is as true today as it has you heard it.