How to Buy a Home for the First-Time Step by Step
Buying a home is probably going to be the biggest investment that you make in your lifetime. So, you will need to know what to look for when buying a home to ensure that your money will be well spent. It helps to work with a real estate agent who knows the community and can find a home inspector that will give you the details.
However, there are five things you need to look for when visiting a potential home before buying. This can help you shape your opinion of whether the home is a good investment or not.
#1 – Check the Roof
When you step out of your vehicle, take a little time to look at the roof first before going inside. This is because the roof protects the home from the elements and needs to be in good shape. So when looking at the roof, look for the following indications;
- Uneven Roof Line: Indicates that the roof is old and maybe caving in
- Displaced Shingles: Leads to water leaks and damage
- Noticeable Cracks or Separations: Will need repair or replacement soon
- New Roof: This means you will not need a replacement for a while
- Metal Roof: A good investment as it lasts for at least 50 years
Take everything you notice into account when looking at the roof so that you can calculate your offer.
#2 – Look Around the Property
After looking at the roof, check out the front and back yards. Focus on the fences to see if they are properly set. Look for areas where water may pool during a storm.
Plus, look at the surrounding area to see if it might be vulnerable to some type of natural disaster that occurs with some frequency in the area. Basically, look for anything out of the ordinary or unusual and note it for future reference.
#3 – It’s the Structure, Not the Contents
Many homes have interiors that need new paint, have loose wires, and appliances that are aging. All of these things can be replaced or repaired quite easily. You are looking at the foundation and the structure of the home itself. If the walls, floors, and ceiling are sound, then the home is in good shape. However, a home inspector will do the up-close work of inspecting the structure, so wait for their report.
#4 – Up to Date Furnace or Central Air System
The heating and cooling unit will also be one of the most expensive items in the home to repair or replace, so be sure to check it out. The central air and furnace will need to be up to date, although they do not have to be brand new. Check for signs of aging and listen to when it comes on if you can. Use this time to also see if the home needs new insulation, as that will add to your heating and cooling bill.
#5 – Front Yard, Backyard, and Landscape
One of the first things people see when they pull up to a property is the front and backyard. The landscape is crucial to some buyers including me. Healthy and well-taken cares of the landscape are good signs that the house is also in good hands.
Don’t get me wrong this doesn’t go for every house; I’ve seen houses that have a fresh coat of paint, nice green landscape, and up-to-date appliances but have serious mold problems and the wooden structure is ready to fall apart from the termite infestation.
If the house doesn’t have the landscape you want to ask the real estate agent to talk to the current home sellers, most home sellers are willing to update a few things around the house to finalize the sale.
#6 – How Safe is the Neighborhood in the Day and Night Time for You and Your Family?
If the neighborhood is crime-infested to the point where your kids can’t even go walk down to the local market you shouldn’t even be thinking of moving in. In a report done by real estate agents, the first thing new homebuyers wanted was a safe and calm neighborhood. You can’t be there to protect your kids from the bad things in life but a safe neighborhood will definitely help you sleep at night.
A nicer neighborhood doesn’t exactly mean it’ll be more expensive, you have to take your time searching neighborhoods around your current location. The prices will definitely go up if the house is located in downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco, near the strip in Las Vegas, near the Loop in downtown Chicago or Lower Manhattan.
I understand that some families want to be located near where all the action is at like popular downtown cities.
A better choice would be Riverside, California instead of downtown Los Angeles; the county of Inland Empire is much more affordable and has low crime compared to Los Angeles County. Another great choice would be buying in the city of Naperville instead of the Loop in Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago comes, in second place on the most popular tourist places in the United States; New York is voted number one. Chicago would obviously be more expensive with higher crime rates.
Finally, if you are serious about buying the home it will need to be inspected by a properly licensed home inspector. They will do the detailed work that will let you know the overall condition of the home itself.