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As you are well aware, buying a home is no small endeavor. There are so many things to consider before you put in an offer, how can you possibly know if you’ve checked every box? In this post, we go over a few must-know first time home buyer tips so you can feel confident in your decision when buying a home for the first time.
One of the most important things you can do when buying a home is understand what affects the value of a home and why the one you are interested in is priced the way it is. “The best way to do that is to take a look at other comparables in the market, really understand the pluses and minuses of your individual property versus the ones that you're comparing it against,” says Brad McCallum. Knowing things like the price per square foot and difference in amenities can help you make a logical decision based on facts before you fall in love.
A common misconception when buying a new home is thinking that the cost of a new home is simply the monthly mortgage payment. However, in reality, there are other factors that can contribute to the full cost of a home. Things like property taxes and maintenance costs can end up costing more than you thought.
Read our blog post on the hidden costs when buying a new construction home to learn more.
Another big thing to consider when buying a home for the first time is the location.
“You really want to consider the intrinsic value of one home's location versus another. Is one on a busy street? Is one got that south facing backyard that you've been looking for? Is it close to a park? Is it maybe close to a school? Is it going to be noisy? Is there nice amenities nearby? Those are the kinds of things you really want to keep in mind and that comes from really understanding what your future needs are,” says Brad.
Picking the right location for your home and understanding what your future needs are go hand in hand. With the current average duration of homeownership being eight years, its extremely important to know what you would like your home to provide during that time. If you plan to have kids, you’ll most likely want a home with multiple bedrooms and a large backyard in a safe neighborhood.
But, what if you want something different? Knowing these things before committing to a home can save a lot of time and money down the road. Brad says, “the way to win in the real estate market is to really buy and hold. There's costs with moving and flipping properties and all those sorts of things. So you really want to think of the life that you want to be living two, three, four, five years from now and find something that's at least going to meet some of those needs.”
Much like considering your future needs, understanding the type of home that fits your lifestyle will help ensure that you still love the home a few years from now. Getting a place downtown may save time on your commute, but what if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life? What if you end up purchasing a home that requires a lengthy commute? Is that something you will still be happy with in a couple of years?
Knowing what you want to get out of a home is a great way to keep emotion out of your decision. If the home you’re interested in doesn’t check all of your boxes, think about the things it is missing and if you can live without them. If you can’t live without them, move on and find something else.
Buying a first home can be a daunting task but knowing a few key things can make the experience that much easier. From knowing the true cost of a home to knowing how your lifestyle affects your homebuying decision, the tips above will help you navigate the maze that is buying a home for the first time more easily.