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A home is the largest purchase most people ever make. Whether it's a first-time buy or relocation to a different neighborhood, it's important to remember these steps before buying a home.

How Long Do I Plan on Living Here?

If you envision your first home as a starter, it's important to keep in mind factors for resale value down the road. Does the house look like it won't need too many repairs, or will a significant remodel put a roadblock in a potential future sale? Try to envision the home well past five years of the initial purchase date. If searching for a single-family home, townhouses are also viable options. Discuss your options with your real estate agent.

The Interior Details of the House

When viewing a house, try to focus on the bones of the house. Is it easy to flow from one room to the next, or do tight corners or low ceilings get in the way? If possible, try to schedule multiple viewings at different times of the day to see how much natural light enters each room. Almost all homes will have staging furniture during an open house. Try to look beyond this to find details that stick out, like if there are not enough power outlets in a room or if an architectural detail seems out of place. Surface features like ugly wallpaper or paint can be fixed later, but overlooked fundamental problems can become massive migraines after purchasing.

Watch out for Hidden Fees

Closing costs are another factor to keep in mind while negotiating buying a home. If sellers won't budge on lowering the total cost of the house, they may negotiate to cover the closing costs instead. For loans, create a budget to see if you can afford the monthly payments before getting into a financial hole that's hard to dig out of. Also, if you've been renting and it's your first time buying a home, be prepared to pay property taxes, homeowner's insurance, moving costs, possible new furniture, and homeowners association fees.

Have a Good Understanding of What You Are Willing to Spend

If buying a house with another person, openly discuss the important financial questions. After building a healthy savings account and getting approved for a loan, the next priority is deciding the amount of money to use for a down payment. This will automatically give you a range of homes that are in a reasonable price range. A real estate agent can help find a neighborhood that fits your budget.

Research Grants and Other Types of Assistance

There are many types of grants and assistance available for different buyers. First-time homeowners and buyers with bad credit can apply for a subsidy that helps with lowering or eliminating initial down payments. There is also assistance for certain professions like teachers and farmers. Buying in a rural or high-poverty area also has support options. Do your research before assuming you earn too much to qualify for anything.

Schools, Parks, and Neighbors

Many first-time buyers are young professionals or families who want access to shopping, arts, culture, and great schools and parks. Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are great options for young buyers. If starting a family, check out the surrounding schools, parks, and playgrounds. If moving to a neighborhood of mostly renters, remember that a few bad tenants or landlords could quickly change the dynamic of that area and drive down the value of your home.

Will Buying a Fixer Upper Save Me Money?

Fixer-uppers give buyers the chance to mold a modest house into their dream home. While this may sound appealing, it's especially important to be meticulous when viewing a fixer upper. Hire a licensed inspector to check out the house. Sometimes the seller will perform repairs on the house and offer credit back from work done. Keep in mind, there are likely reasons that the home is listed at a lower price, and some may not be visible to the naked eye. A faulty electrical system or corroded plumbing could require a large portion of your renovation budget.

Buying a home can be a scary process, but with these tips in mind, you can begin to tackle the process with peace of mind. If you're thinking of buying a home, contact John Arquette Properties today!