It can be a daunting world out there for first time home buyers. All sorts of new terms (closing? easements? tear-away roofs?), all sorts of methods (real estate agents? homes for sale by owner?) — and all sorts of paperwork. Don’t worry, you’ll find your way as you go (and you can Google the rest). But as you make your way through the real estate listings your agent provides, here are some helpful first time home buyer tips to keep in mind.
Maximize Your Effort. A lot of people think it goes without saying that you should use a real estate agent to help you buy a home, but with so many people selling their own homes, it may need to be said after all. And here it is: you should use a real estate agent to help you buy a home. Why do your own real estate market research, when they have the experience and knowledge to tell you exactly what you want to know, often times off the top of their well-coiffed head? And when it comes time to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed, you’ll be glad to have them there, holding your hand the whole way.
Things You Can Change. Looking at houses can be an overwhelming experience, especially if the houses you’re seeing are still occupied. The accumulation of another family’s belongings can be difficult to not see, especially when they’re of a… questionable style. Here’s what you don’t have to worry about, if you do see it:
- Ugly wallpaper.
- Ugly paint.
- Ugly carpet.
- Dirty anything.
- Wood paneling.
All of these things can be changed, so don’t dwell on them. Instead, focus on…
Things You Can’t Change. These form the essence of a house, the pieces that give the whole its actual sense of life. They are immutable elements of structure and spacing that will be a part of the house no matter what type of shingles you put up (and if they are changeable, it’s a wildly expensive endeavor). They are:
- Number of rooms.
- Location of bathrooms.
- Lot placement (and overall yard size)
- Old-growth shade trees (you can subtract big trees, but you can’t add them).
- Room layout.
- Light orientation.
If you like these core elements, you’re well on your way to liking the house in general.