Purchasing your first home can be an exciting, but overwhelming process. It’s also a huge financial commitment. There are so many elements that contribute to a home purchase, and if you’re not informed you could make some pretty costly mistakes. While your real estate agent should serve as a guide, it’s important to educate yourself on the basics of the home-buying process. Here are a few things to consider:
Hire a Home Inspector
Home inspections are crucial when purchasing a new home. A home inspection is a visual examination of the physical structures and systems of the home and will usually offer home buyers information regarding the home’s value. While an inspection does add to the overall cost of purchasing a home, failure to engage an inspection could lead to unexpected surprises and additional repair and maintenance costs in the long run.
Research the Neighborhood
The location of a home can strongly impact a home’s value. As a potential home buyer, you’ll want to thoroughly research the neighborhood and surrounding areas. Identifying data on crime rates, school systems, average income, tax history, and other factors can contribute to a home’s value and future resale potential. A simple reverse address public search can uncover a wealth of information on the area and help you make a confident and informed decision.
Consider Sleeper Costs
Many first-time home buyers make the mistake of assuming the purchase price of the house is all-encompassing. Unfortunately, there are many additional costs you’ll need to consider when determining your budget. Some of the more common sleeper costs include taxes, insurance, repairs, and internal costs like furniture and lawn care supplies. When building your budget, you’ll want to earmark these expenses and wrap them into your overall bottom line.
Negotiate the Offer
Negotiation is a learned skill, but something you should do with every home offer. Even if you can’t negotiate the price of the home, you can ask the seller to cover items like the inspection or certain renovations. You can also negotiate items like closing costs or ask that furniture or appliances be included in the sale price. Most sellers are eager to finish the process and won’t want to haggle over smaller requests. You simply won’t know unless you ask, so go for it!
These are just a few of the many items to consider as you embark on the home-buying journey. While this is an exciting time, and you can lean on your real estate agent for a lot of the negotiations, it’s important to be informed as you begin the process.
Guest post by Lizzie Weakley — a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball. She recommends a reverse address public search for anyone in the housing market.