Home shopping can be super daunting, whether it’s your first time or not. The thing is, most of us only buy a couple of homes in our lifetime, so we can forget all of the things we swore we were going to remember by the time “the next time” actually rolls around.
So it’s great that these 12 homeowners wrote down some tips while they were fresh in their minds – take note so you don’t make the same mistake twice (or at all!).
12. You get what you pay for.
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“We bought our first home at 24. We had just enough for the down payment and for other related costs of buying.
My only advice would be DO NOT go with the cheapest home inspector that you can find.
We made that mistake, and we bought a mouse-infested home that wasn’t mentioned once during the inspection, and there were no signs during our viewings. We of course found this out shortly after moving in when we started pulling our kitchen appliances out to repaint — mouse s*%t everywhere, recently dead mice, and even a few skeletons.
Also on that note: Be extra suspicious if the house is heavily scented while viewing. They could be masking an odor. It took us close to two years to get the rodent problem under control. We were a lot more cautious when buying our next house, LOL.”
11. A short but important list.
“Equity, equity, equity. Do your research, and know what is important to you.
Get a good real estate agent who really wants what’s best for you, not just the quick sale for commissions.
Don’t buy more than you can afford, even if the bank allows it.”
10. Shoveling for days.
“Don’t buy a house facing north. You will have snow and ice out front ALL winter.”
9. The sum of its parts.
“It is important to know the lifespan of key home features! Roofs, appliances, furnaces, water heaters, septic, and irrigation systems all have expected lifespans that can be shortened by a lot of factors. And they cost a lot to repair or replace.
Often, you can get great rebates on upgrades from utility companies or government rebates if you go with eco-friendly options that cost more initially. I just put in a hybrid water heater that, with rebates, cost a couple hundred more than a standard model, but it cut my electric bill in half.
Thankfully, I knew that it was an upcoming expense, so I had the money set aside and kept my eye out for deals on the model I wanted. Anytime you have to fix something out of desperation, you are in danger of getting gauged.”
8. A good one is worth their weight in gold.
“Find a good buyer’s agent. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. They know what they’re doing and will help you.
You don’t even pay them — their commission comes out of the house price, so the sellers technically pay them. It is considered nice to get them a gift to say thank you!”
7. Don’t give in to pressure.
“If you can’t do a professional inspection, or you have any doubts, walk away.
If your agent is pressuring you, get a different one. When it comes to older homes, assume you’ll need to do work on them.”
6. There’s no rush.
“Bottom line: If you’re happy in your rented apartment, STAY in your rented apartment.
If you choose to buy a house, don’t buy if you’re in a rush. Do your research, and be patient.”
5. Don’t let the todo list pile up.
“I recognize that this is a very privileged perspective, but what I’ve learned in my short time as a homeowner (a little under two years now) is if you can afford it, keep up with all the little things that need maintenance or upkeep.
Don’t put it off, or it will get worse and more expensive, and the things will pile up. There are a lot of costs that go into being a homeowner aside from just the purchase of the house and your mortgage.”
4. Not every home is a forever home.
“There’s nothing wrong with buying a starter home. It may not be what you see yourself retiring in, but think of it as a stepping stone.
My husband and I bought out first house when we were in our early twenties. I distinctly remember a coworker of mine going on about how there’s no point in a starter home. Her and her husband were saving up for their dream home.
Twelve years later, and our starter home had built up enough equity to buy our dream home that will be paid off by the time we retire.
Costly repairs can happen just the same with a car as they can a house. There’s always going to be pros and cons, but as long as you do you research, get a good inspector, and make sure you have an emergency fund, it’s still a good investment.”
3. DIY what you can.
“I have owned and lived in the same house for almost 19 years. I have found that there is always going to be something that needs to be fixed. YouTube is actually SUPER helpful with videos.
Homeownership can feel challenging, but you are enhancing and protecting YOUR asset.”
2. It adds up.
“Some things to take into account when buying is not just the cost of the mortgage, but also property taxes, utility bills, and rental costs for things like water softeners.
Look at things like parking — don’t ever rely on street parking unless you absolutely have to; avoid shared driveways; make sure your driveway can hold all the cars in your household.”
1. A time and place for everything.
“I’ve owned a condo and a single family home, and I can tell you that the condo is a great option for people that don’t want to put in a ton of extra effort.
Buying a house means caring for the roof, yard, fence, outdoor paint, etc. Yes, HOA’s seem like a rip-off, but you’ll save a ton, and you’d probably spend that money on upkeep anyway.”
I’m going to start a list and even remember where it is, I swear.
What’s your best home-buying tip? If it’s not on this list, share it with us in the comments!