It has been 9 years since my husband and I bought our first home and now owning our second home, we have learned a lot since then. My husband and I were so excited to be first time homeowners that we may have missed a few minor details in the home buying process that could have saved us a lot of trouble. Before you put the sold sign in the ground read through these 8 tips for first time home buyers to help you avoid making rookie mistakes.
1. When looking for a new home, be sure to not only check out the house but also the area you will be living in. Search the local newspaper archives to see what you can expect from the neighborhood. Look through the police blotter to see the crime rates and be sure to check with the local police department about the street you are moving to and what kind of complaints they commonly get in that area.
2. Check out the school district your child or future children will be attending. Even if you don’t have children when purchasing a home, you may have school aged children while residing there. Although things can change over time it’s a good idea to check where your local school rank on different school grading websites and lists.
3. Calculate how much our monthly mortgage payment will be and figure out with taxes and insurance how much your payments will be. I suggest paying your taxes and insurance monthly with your house payment to avoid any unexpectedly large payments due at the end of the year.
4. When calculating your expected finances in your new home be sure to include your new monthly utility bills. In a larger home you are sure to increase your electricity costs, heating & cooling, and possible landscaping and other maintenance fees.
5. Expect the unexpected because just when you think everything is going to be alright, your appliances break down, your roof starts to leak, or your hot water heater explodes and floods your basement. These things happen all too often for homeowners and this isn’t going to end anytime soon. Put a little money away for these times or have a high limit credit card reserved for these occasions.
6.Be sure to find out if your new home is in a private community with association fees and rules. Usually your realtor can find this information out for you but it’s always helpful to go online and do some research of your own.
7. Knock on the neighbors door, introduce yourself and ask about the area. Even if they don’t offer any useful info about the area, at least you will get to see a preview of what you will be living next to for years to come.
8. If you plan on having kids make sure the house allows for an addition to be built on or has an extra bedroom you will not have reserved for other things. If your property line hugs your neighbors then you are unable to add onto your home and this may also make the home hard to resell. Even if you plan on living there and not expanding keeping resale value in mind is always a smart decision.
I hope these 8 tips for new home buyers help you to avoid any costly newbie mistakes. Do you have any tips you would like to share? Leave them in the comments section below.