Buying a home is a very exciting experience! However, there are many things that can go unnoticed until someone actually buys their own home. My wife and I bought our first home in June 2013. We were living in an apartment the previous year. Our rent was going to go up drastically if we decided to renew our lease, so we thought that our money would be better spent if we bought a house. Here are five lessons I learned in the experience.
1) Know the difference from a starter and dream home.
One of big mistakes homeowners can make is buying too much home before they’re ready. Being house poor is never fun for anyone. If you’re going to be in the same job or area for awhile, are ready to settle down, and have deep enough pockets then you may be ready to purchase your dream home. If not, learn from many people who are house poor, be patient. If you are frugal and wise, the finances will line up one day, but don’t rush into buying your dream home and become house poor.
2) Check the “total” area.
In looking at the home you plan to buy. examine the entire area before you make an offer. Know what school your kids will be attending. Check out the local shops and businesses in the area. I advise you to drive through the neighborhood at night, and make sure you know in a broad sense who your neighbors will be. You can determine this by looking at their yards, bumper stickers on their cars, and even through conversation as you are looking at the house. Because you don’t have to be friends with them, but you do have to live beside them. If they are loud, rude, weird, or do anything you find objectionable you might want to take that into consideration.
3) Be careful of money pits.
Renovation projects can be fun, but changing the paint color is one thing and having to replace the roof is another. Examine the foundation, roof, walls, check for mold, etc. Be careful about confusing a renovation project for a money pit. One big piece of advice: NEVER WAIVE the home investigation. If a home’s price seems to good to be true it probably is.
4) Calculate costs that most people overlook.
More than likely you will have furniture, appliances, and things to bring into your new home. Make sure you ask questions from the sellers and see if they’ll leave any appliances, furniture, or items for you in your new home. Mentally calculate how much of your furniture will fit into your new home and what furniture you will need to buy for your new home. You will probably need to buy more furniture for your home but that’s not always the case. When you calculate the cost of your home make sure you calculate necessary renovations, the purchase of appliances, and the purchase of furniture. Because furniture and appliance costs can add up quickly, be careful not to drain everything in purchasing things to furnish your home.
5) Make sure you are sure before you make an offer.
Buying a home is totally different than taking a pair of pants back to Macy’s. Once your offer is accepted you have that home. Please note that new homes always come up on the market. It is much better to wait and let someone else buy that home than buy a home that you’re not 100 percent sure about buying. Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, make sure you are 100 percent certain about the home you’re buying.