Your first time housing hunting is a very exciting, yet scary time. There are so many factors that go into buying a home that it can be a bit overwhelming at times. Once you find and buy your home, the satisfaction you get will definitely be worth it. Before you begin the house hunting process here are a few tips you should know.
Look for up-and-coming neighborhoods
When you start your search, research neighborhoods that are in between. That means find a neighborhood that is on its way up, this is where you’ll get the most return on your investment. As the neighborhood continues to grow you’ll find that the demand will increase. But remember there are no guarantees, neighborhoods may be on their way up and then in an instant, they decline. Here are a few things you should keep an eye out for when looking for an up-and-coming neighborhood:
- New restaurants and bars
- Unique architecture
- A growing arts district
- Close proximity or easy access to major cities
- Good nightlife
- Low crime rates
- Good schools
- Look beyond cosmetic issues
We know how turned off you can be when you see a home that has wallpaper from the 70s and shag carpeting. Some people even have trouble seeing past the furniture the current owners have. These kinds of issues are easy to change and should be overlooked when looking at homes. You should never turn down an eligible home in a good neighborhood because you don’t like the decor.
Look and then look again
The first time prospective buyers look at a home they tend to be hung up over certain figures of the home, like beautifully painted walls or a pool in the back yard. It’s best to come back and check out the house with a fresh set of eyes. Make sure when you come back and see the house to check:
- Water pressure – turn on the faucets and shower
- Check all the windows – Make sure they open and close
- Check all cabinets – will there be room for all your kitchen supplies?
- Check the attic, basement, and crawl space – is there any missing insulation that can cause heating and cooling problems. Also, is there enough room in the crawl space for the inspectors or is there water leakage in the basement?
- Keep an eye out for hidden variables
There are more expenses beyond the mortgage when you close on a home. Make sure you ask your agent and the seller about the following:
Utilities: Ask the previous owners what their average monthly utility bill is. If they are in an HOA, make sure you look over the contract before signing anything.
Your surroundings: Who are the neighbors? Is there anything you should know about them? It wouldn’t hurt to drive past the neighborhood at different times of the day so you can get a feel for what goes on there.
Don’t skip the inspection
Now that you have gotten past the housing hunting process and you have found a home it’s important that you take this step before you apply for a loan. An inspector will give you a list of what you can’t see, like the foundation, electrical system, mold, condition of the roof, and if the house is up to state and city standards. Some people skip this step in order to speed up the process, but this could be one of you biggest mistakes. These inspections could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars down the road.