Posts tagged ‘home buying’

A Few Tips For First Time Home Buyers

Since we’ve just gone through the process of buying our first house, I thought I’d post a few ideas and tips for first time home buyers (or any other buyer), inspired by this question:

Tip #1: Know what you’re looking for.  Searching for a house can be completely overwhelming, and if you don’t know what you want, it is easy to be swayed by a beautifully decorated home that is not actually a good fit for your lifestyle.  Having a good sense of what you are looking for (lots of space, potential to add value, turn-key, etc) can help you sort through it all.  Talk together about what is most important, and what can be compromised on.  D and I spent hours (and hours, and hours…) talking together about what we wanted in a house.

Tip #2: Look past the small stuff.  As long as you don’t mind putting in a little bit of elbow grease, many things that often put buyers off (dated light fixtures, ugly wall paper, paint colours) can actually be changed quite easily and inexpensively.  And remember, their furniture and belongings will be gone, so look at the house itself, not how it is decorated!

Tip #3: It’s what’s underneath that counts.  This relates to the previous point, in that paint and other aesthetics are not a big deal.  What you want to look for is a house with good bones.  If your home is structurally sound and in good shape, then you can focus your time and effort (and money!) on the fun stuff, rather than on expensive repairs!  We were lucky to find a home that has been really well-maintained, with great bones, but lots of room for putting our own touch on things and adding value.  It’s a blank slate!

Tip #4: Think about your future plans.  The house you buy will depend not only on where you are now, but where you are going.  When looking at houses, you should think about how long you plan on staying in the house, and how your life may change during that time.  If you plan on having children and want to stay put, you will want to factor that in, in terms of the size of the house, number of bedrooms, etc.  If you plan on moving in two years, you will want to think about resale, and plan your purchase and your renovations accordingly.

Tip #5: Location, location, location.  The one thing you cannot change about your house is its location.  You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood and make sure its a place you can be happy.  Talk to neighbours and others in the community about the area, and visit at various times on different days.  We actually ended up buying a house on the very same street that we were already living on, so we knew and liked the area already.

Tip #6: Inspect it!  You will definitely definitely want to hire a reputable inspector to check out your home before you finalize the purchase.  Make your offer conditional upon conducting and approving a home inspection, so that if it does turn up a host of expensive problems, you can always back out of the deal.  You can also bargain with the seller to see if they will take on the repairs before you move in (which is an even better idea than reducing the price accordingly, in case the repairs turn out to be more expensive than first thought).  And completing a successful home inspection is very reassuring…you can also learn helpful tips about maintenance and so on from your inspector.

And finally…

Tip #7: Go for it!  Sure, it pays to take your time and make sure you know what you want, but once you do find that perfect house, make an offer!  If you over-analyze too much (often my problem), you’ll never make a decision.  And you don’t want to end up losing the house because someone beat you to the punch.

July 2, 2009 at 3:51 pm 1 comment


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