Buying your first home is a major commitment, and not something to be taken lightly. No matter how much or how little you have to spend, there are some key things you need to look for in that starter property.
You do not need granite countertops or a hot tub in the master bathroom to enjoy your homeownership experience. If you are in the market for a new home, it is a good idea to take a step back and focus on the basics.
Here are some key things you need to look for when shopping for your first home.
If the home you are looking at is not structurally sound, nothing else matters. No matter how great the neighborhood or how low the price, buying a home in need of major repairs can be a nightmare for the first-time homeowner.
Unless you are an experienced contractor and are willing to live in a work in progress, it is best to pass on homes that have major problems. Always get a thorough home inspection before making an offer on any home, and read the results carefully. Do not rely on the inspection report done by the seller; always get an independent view of the home and its structural integrity.
The Right Size for You and Your Family
Buying the right size home is essential for a couple of reasons. For one thing, buying a larger home than you need will drive up your expenses and make it harder to meet your financial obligations. From higher property taxes to higher heating and cooling costs, buying too large a home could be hard on your wallet.
Buying a home that is too small has its own problems, however. If you have a growing family, you could find yourself out of space in just a few years. The key is to buy a home that can grow with you but not one that is clearly too large for your needs.
Curb Appeal that is Ripe for Improvement
Curb appeal matters, but it is also one of the simplest things to improve. If you love the home but not the landscaping, use the condition of the exterior to drive a better bargain.
You can then put that money into improving the landscape and the exterior of the home. Simply painting the shutters and sprucing up the front door can make a huge difference, as can putting in some new tress and trimming those neglected shrubs.
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An Up-and-Coming Neighborhood
Buying a home in a neighborhood that is on the way up is always a smart move. You can typically get a lower price than you would if you bought in the best neighborhood in town. At the same time, you may be able to benefit from higher than average appreciation when the area starts to make its move and more and more people start to view it as attractive.
It is not always easy to identify those up-and-coming neighborhoods, but doing your homework and listening to the right advice can help a lot. Working with a realtor who is an expert on the area is a smart idea as well, so choose your real estate professional with care.
Buying a first home can be an intimidating and even a frightening experience, but it does not have to be. By focusing on the basics and seeking out the best value, you can get the most for your money and avoid common mistakes that could make your homeownership experience a less than pleasant one.
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