- Your starter home should be in your budget. Just like when you’re shopping for anything else, sometimes when you start looking around, you can get tempted by things that you might not really be able to afford. However, when you’re buying your first house, the financial stakes are much higher than when you’re trying to buy… let’s say, a new sweater, because instead of pushing the limits of your budget by $20, you may end up pushing it by a few thousand without even realizing it. The best thing you can do to stop this from happening is to really sit down and be sure about what you can afford before you start shopping. Because it’s sometimes hard to just find a specific number of what exactly you can afford, it is probably most useful to come up with a few ranges: 1) The lowest price range where you think you’ll get what you are looking for, maybe what you’re willing to pay for a fixer upper 2) The range where you would feel very comfortable but which wouldn’t really push the boundaries of your budget 3) What you can afford if you really fall in love with a house. Once you have an idea of those three ranges, your next step is just to find an agent who is willing to respect that budget and work with you to find a house that you can both love and afford. (Pro-tip: Try us here at Maria Sims Group! J)
- Try a fixer upper. If you think that you’re the kind of person with a vision for what a home can become, you may want to try buying a fixer upper as your first home. Usually, budgets are pretty small for starter homes, but buying properties which need improvements can help bring down that price a little bit. Now, if you’re not someone who is going to be able to fix those issues yourself, that may turn into a financial nightmare because you’ll constantly have to hire more and more people to fix the problems, but if you’re a little bit handy, it could end up being a great idea as long as you have the time to commit to the project. By the end of the process if you do a good job, you’ll probably also be able to sell it for much more than you bought it, which is incredibly helpful when you feel like it’s time to upgrade to the next house.
- Make sure it passes inspection. A lot of first time home buyers don’t know much about the steps that are included in buying a house, and the inspection is a hugely important part of making sure that you are getting what you think you’re getting from a house. After all, inspections uncover things that you can’t see when just taking a surface look at a house, and that is so important so that you don’t end up with a home that is not functional or which is going to break your budget with unexpected costs. ALWAYS make sure that you have an inspection done on a house before buying it.
- Pay attention to location. It is so easy to get caught up in the beauty of a home and forget to pay attention to its location, but that’s one of the biggest mistakes that some first time home buyers make. After all, if you go too far away from your job or the other things that are important to you, your commute and time spent in the car will also increase, which can be frustrating. Similar to figuring out your budget before you start visiting properties, you also want to figure out a range of locations that would work for you. Make sure that you set your maximum travel time and stick to it. One of the number one reasons people end up moving is in order to get closer to work or to family, and you don’t want to buy your first house only to immediately want to think about moving again.
- Make sure to keep it fun. Buying a house is such an exciting life step, so no matter what your budget is or what you’re looking for, one of the most important elements of shopping for your first house is to stay excited about the process. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure that you keep a few important elements as non-negotiables. For instance, if you absolutely have always dreamed of having a garbage disposal, make sure that you find a house that has a garbage disposal. Then, no matter what else you have to compromise on or negotiate about, you still have that dream element of your house that you can be excited about.
These tips have been brought to you by Maria Sims Group, a company dedicated to making sure that you’re in the best home for you. If you have any questions about our company or would like to ask about a personalized list of homes that would fit your needs, please reach out. Our homepage can be found at mariasimsgroup.com or you can call us at 404-805-0673.