As a first-time homebuyer, there is a lot of information to process throughout this fresh experience of making one of the biggest purchases that you most likely will ever make. There are contracts, fees, rates and insurance among the major ones— everyone wants to get a good deal, but there are also things that involve maintaining a house such as roofing, insulation, piping, and electrical. The list is somewhat exhaustive and it can be hard to know where to focus your attention and energy. The one major concern for first-timers and home buying veterans alike is a sound investment. It is somewhat easier for first-time homebuyers to fall into money-pits due to inexperience. Luckily, having an experienced Realtor on your side when buying a home can be one of the greatest assets in your investment. Following a few of these guidelines can help first-time buyers to avoid costly mistakes.
Hire an agent. I would say this is an important step no matter how little or great the experience of a buyer, but especially for a first-timer. Having the resources of a professional can save you a ton of money, heartache and headache that you may not have the to foresight to avoid.
Hire someone highly recommended to inspect the home. Again, another resource that can be provided by a professional Realtor, but someone who has an outstanding and vetted reputation. It’s one of the first major expenses in the process, but well worth it! A home inspector will give you an idea of any major repairs to expect and whether or not it’s a big deal. Often times they can tell you the magnitude and cost of any needed repair. If it’s something major, get your realtor to include the repair in your closing contract.
Put any investment property (i.e. a flipped home) under scrutiny. Research the investment company and the work they’ve previously done. Did the seller ever actually live in the home? Too often these investors will make a home look nice without attending to any major structural factors. Any flipper worth their salt will have addressed these issues and will have no problem explaining the improvements they’ve made.
Don’t fall for a fancy coat of paint, and stainless steel. None of these things matter as much as making sure the home itself is sound. It’s electrical wiring, water pressure, insulation, things that you don’t see, but if something is wrong can cost the buyer a pretty penny! New heating and cooling systems, new windows and new roofs are major pluses in buying a home. It means a replacement is far down the road and you’ll save money on energy costs in the meantime.
It’s always good to be prepared for the unexpected. Don’t max out your savings on a bunch of furniture to fill your home between the downpayment and your first few monthly payments. Take your time and have a spending plan. There may be some unforeseen costs, repairs or expenses that you weren’t necessarily planning on.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it is some of the major oversights that can easily turn a dream home into a disaster. Every home buying experience is different, just like every home. Having someone with experience guide you through the process can end up saving a lot of money in the long run!
WandaFears, Realtor ABR CRS GRI WCR
Richmond, Va. Long and Foster Realtors