5 Things First-Time Buyers Should Look For In A Home
There are few events more exciting than the first time you buy a home. You are going to graduate from a renter to an owner, with all the benefits that such a transition brings. But as with anything, because you are buying a home for the first time, it can be challenging to know exactly what you should be looking for in a home. Fortunately, while this may be your first time buying, plenty of others have gone before you, which means you can build on their insights when going about your own purchase.
1. A good neighborhood.
While what defines a good neighborhood will vary depending on the buyer, there is no denying the importance of buying in an area you will like living. No matter how inexpensive the home, if it is in a neighborhood that will make you miserable, it is not going to be the right place for you. Young professionals often like neighborhoods that are close to restaurants and nightlife, while new families may prefer quieter neighborhoods where the kids can play outside. What you want out of your neighborhood is just as important as what you want out of your home, so think carefully about where you conduct your home search. Here are some great tips for choosing a neighborhood. Look over the list and see what makes the most sense for your stage of life.
2. A home you can be comfortable in – or can fix up to be comfortable in a reasonable amount of time.
If you are into doing your own home repairs and renovations, it can make a lot of sense to buy a fixer upper. You’ll save money upfront and you have the ability to improve the condition of the home on your own. However, many first-time home buyers make the mistake of thinking they will fix up a home, only to discover that they do not have the ability, motivation or finances to make the repairs necessary to get the home into the condition necessary to be comfortable. You are are making a big financial commitment with your purchase, so be certain you will be able to live comfortably with your choice before you make the leap. Some of the best first time home buyer advice is getting clear on what you want.
3. A home that fits your lifestyle and goals.
You are going to encounter a number of different options when you start home shopping and be faced continuously with trade-offs (unless you have an extremely high budget). You can afford a better location, but a smaller house. Or a bigger home, further out of town. One home may offer a bigger back yard, while another will have virtually no yard, but a balcony. No matter how hard you look, you are going to have to choose between options that are imperfect. That is why it is so important to clearly define your goals and aspirations for the home you buy. You need to know what is most important to you in a home because ultimately you will need to trade some less important things to get the ones that matter most to you.
4. A place you can see yourself living for at least five years.
Most experts agree that the minimum amount of time you should live in a newly purchased home, especially as a first-time buyer, is five years. It will usually take at least five years to make the purchase benefit you financially. Sell before then and you risk losing money – unless you happen to in a really hot market. One of the most common home buying mistakes is not purchasing a property that is suitable for longer term goals. Because you want to make smart financial choices, you need to be careful to find a home that you can reasonably expect to live in for a five-year period.
5. A home that is priced well within your budget.
If at all possible, you want to avoid spending every last cent you have on your first home. You want the home to be a source of happiness and security, not a lead weight that threatens to drown you financially. Ownership costs money – more than just the mortgage. Things break, maintenance must be done, and other costs will pop up that you need to be able to cover. By purchasing a home that is in the middle of your budget, or even on the lower end, you give yourself much more breathing room.
Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell Metrowest Massachusetts real estate for the past thirty plus years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in New England for the past decade. In 2016 he was the #1 RE/MAX real estate agent in New England.