Posts tagged ‘home inspection’

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

Shopping is exhausting!!

Well, I guess I should actually start with the results of our home inspection yesterday.  I showed up a few minutes late, and D was already there with the inspector.  We actually had an apprentice inspector who went through (very thoroughly!) and then a fully registered home inspector who went through again and double-checked things, so we got a double whammy.  And overall, it went really well!  Our new house passed with flying colours!!!!  In fact, both of the inspectors commented that this was just the type of house they would look for if they were going to buy a house!  So that was pretty reassuring.

 There are a few things that need to be done: since its an old house, the insulation isn’t really up to par for today’s standards – the attic insulation is at an R12, and we’d like to get it up to R50 because we would like to be as energy efficient as possible.  The hot water tank is ten years old, and apparently, 10 years is about the life expectency for newer tanks, although they can last sometimes as long as 15 or even 20 years.  So that may be another thing to budget for, but not really a big deal.  Besides that, there were a couple minor things, but nothing to be concerned about.

We were so relieved that the house inspection went so well that today we spent pretty much the whole day doing renovation shopping.  And I have to say, I am wiped out!  Shopping is completely exhausting!!  We have lots of plans for things we would like to do with our new (old) house –many of which will have to wait, but we’re hoping to do new flooring throughout a good part of the upstairs before we move in – then we won’t have to move furniture later.  We shopped around and found some really nice (and pretty affordable) choices for laminate flooring, which we plan to do throughout the living room, down the hall, and into the bedrooms.  We also checked out light fixtures, doors and door handles, hardware for the kitchen cupboards, and bathroom stuff.  More on our renovation plans later, for now, suffice it to say I am tired out, we’ve got a stack of quotes and a lot of deciding to do.

June 20, 2009 at 6:14 pm Leave a comment

Home Inspection Today

Well, I’m about to head off to go to our home inspection in about five minutes.  Over the next three hours, we will find out whether our new house is the fantastic diamond in the rough we believe it to be, or whether it is hiding a multitude of expensive problems.  Here’s hoping it’s not the latter!  This is the last big step before we can 100% say the house is ours and that sold sign can finally go up!  I’m really really hoping that things go well.  We shall know by tomorrow!

June 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

And we’re on our way…

D just phoned me and told me that our mortgage has been approved!!!  Now all we need is a successful home inspection tomorrow and we are on our way to buying our house!!!  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well at our home inspection tomorrow… I was surprised to find out that it takes three hours for the inspection… I guess that means that they’re thorough.  Anyways, hopefully there won’t be any nasty surprises!

June 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

We are buying a HOUSE!!

We bought a house!!!  We bought a house!!!  We bought a house!!!  Well, last night, we made an offer, and it was accepted, so that pretty much means we bought a house right?  Now, as long as our financing comes through (which it should), and the home inspection is ok, the house is ours!

It’s all happened so fast.  D and I had been toying with the idea of buying a house…we went to a few open houses, checked out listings and pictures online…but didn’t seriously think that anything would happen this soon.  We figured, maybe the end of summer, or the fall, or even next winter/spring…but here we are!  Funnily enough, the house we are going to buy is just down the street from where we currently live.  We noticed the signs go up about a week or so ago, went to an open house last weekend, went back for a 2nd viewing yesterday afternoon (D’s parents came with), and went back in the evening to make our offer!  We did a little bit of price negotiation, and ended up with a great deal.  Now here’s hoping that everything works out!  Fingers crossed…

June 11, 2009 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

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