If you’re starting the house buying process, it can seem like a big, significant, important task—and it is. If you’re buying a home, that means you going to be investing a large sum of money into this place where you will live, work, eat, and sleep. If the process seems daunting, here are some tips to help you through:
Find a real estate agent that you trust. If you ever watch House Hunters, you’ve probably seen examples of really bad real estate agents—these are the ones that try to talk their buyers into paying more than they can afford or that present homes that are neither in budget nor have the features that the buyer needs or wants. What you need is a real estate agent who listens to you and presents you with properties that you would actually want or be able to buy.
Don’t stretch your budget. The truth is that you don’t want to be scraping together nickels in order to pay your mortgage every month. Part of this is going to be finding the right mortgage, but part of this is going to have to do with how much home you buy. You are going to be much happier in a home you can afford than in a home that you are struggling to pay for.
Actually look at the house. It’s one thing to walk around and see the layout of the home and whether or not you like the carpeting, it’s another thing entirely to actually inspect the house. That means looking at the seams along the windows, the condition of the carpeting, the interior of the cabinets, the corners and ceilings of the bathrooms, etc. If there are problems with the house, you want to know about them before you buy.
Location. You’ve probably heard someone say, “The three most important aspects of a house are: location, location, location.” It’s true. The right house in a horrible neighborhood (“horrible” could mean crime-ridden or simply that it’s a two hour drive to work and has no acceptable schools), is the wrong house. The wrong house in the right neighborhood might actually be the right house, with a little elbow grease. You can always change a house—but you can’t change the neighborhood.