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15 Things To Know Before You Buy Your First Home

List RulesHomeowners: vote up the tips you wish you knew before you bought your first home.

Home sweet home! One of the biggest goals many of us have in life is to buy our very own home. Although it's a admirable aspiration, it can be a little overwhelming. You can make it better when keeping in mind these useful tips for newbie buyers. Which one is the most helpful? Vote up!

  • 5

    Real Estate Agents Are Sales People

    From Redditor u/mikedom722:

    Just know that everyone you'll talk to during the home buying process wants you to buy a house. They (lender, RE gent, inspector, appraiser, insurance agent) all have incentives for you to buy a house, even if it's not a great situation for you. It's rare that they'll tell you to walk away. We hired an attorney to review our offer and it was a breath of fresh air talking to someone who was looking out for us (because we paid him for that).

    Also: real estate agents are sales people, not real estate experts. They know as little as possible about a house so that they cannot be held liable down the road (and most offer contracts completely wash away their liability from mistakes).

    Good tip?
  • 6

    Do Some Reconnaissance

    From a former Redditor:

    Spend a Friday or Saturday evening in your car parked in front of the house you're interested in buying. If there are going to be loud parties in the neighborhood, you might want to know. Either to avoid or to attend.

    Spend a few hours on a weekday parked in front of that house. If there's going to be a big barking dog that will drive you [wild], chances are a weekday will be the time to hear it.

    Spend a weekend evening parked in front of that house. (Repeat, I know.) If there are dealers two houses down, the increased come-and-go traffic will make you aware of this. Again, for you to avoid or attend, your choice. Knowledge is power.

    I've owned 5 houses and each time there were surprises about the neighborhoods that I didn't take the time to find out about before buying. I did this last time and I'm enjoying the house and the neighborhood a lot.

    Good tip?
  • 7

    Think About Future Repairs

    From Redditor u/macbubs:

    Do not buy a house built in 1930 with a finished basement. You will spend a fortune on flood repairs. F*ck me.

    Good tip?
  • 8

    Consider Reno, Utilities, And Mortgage Rates Before You Buy

    From Redditor u/sweaty_obesity:

    I bought my house a couple of years ago and I am an engineer who works in construction so this might be a little long-winded. I gutted my house and did a complete renovation so I have messed with a lot of things. These things are in no particular order, just things I have gleaned over the years. Also, I live in Florida, so some of this advice may be region-specific.

    When you put the contract on the house, make sure you put the offer is contingent on an inspection. Hire your own independent, home inspector and if there is something you are really uneasy about (needs a new roof, bad plumbing, crappy insulation, etc.) either negotiate the price down to offset the cost of the repair, require the seller to fix the issues before the sale or walk away from the deal.

    Depending on your area, search for any permits pulled on the house for construction. This is all public record. Look for sinkhole repairs, new roofs, or any other construction-related permits. These help you know if there has been significant repair work done to the house. If they have pulled a permit for anything sinkhole-related (grouting or pilings) walk away from the house and find another one. Sinkhole-prone houses are to be avoided at all costs.

    Try and find out the utility costs for the home beforehand. I live in Florida so my electricity fluctuates like crazy because of the summer heat. I'm talking a $100 swing at least between December and July. Also, when I bought my house, they had an average water bill of $400 a month because they had a massive leak they didn't know about that destroyed the kitchen. I used that to drive the price down. Knowing the average utility cost can help you decide if your budget can handle the house.

    If you are doing repairs/renovations, get at least 3 estimates. Be wary of a bid that is way below the others. Contractors who underbid tend to do a few things a) crappy sub-standard work b) try and find ways to increase your cost through additional services that "they find along the way".

    Odds are your loan will be sold to a different bank at some point. It's no big deal because the terms of your loan will remain constant. I never made a payment to my original lender before my mortgage was sold to wells Fargo.

    No adjustable-rate mortgages. Ever. Only get a fixed-rate mortgage. There are enough horror stories on the internet about this one. Also, I got an FHA loan with my house, but they since changed the rules and now with an FHA the PMI never comes off instead of when you have paid 20% of the principal. Check with your mortgage broker about things like that. I pay about $120 a month in PMI. Would suck for that to never come off.

    Set aside a decent amount of money for unforeseen repairs in the first few months. Busted water heater, squirrels in the attic, leaking roof whatever. You're on the hook now for all repairs. It sucks.

    Look at the condition of the air conditioners. Replacement units can get expensive depending on what kind of system you have and what kind of climate you are in. If they are really old, you could be replacing them soon.

    Take a good hard look at your budget and I mean everything. Food costs, utilities, etc. and figure out of you can actually afford the house. Homes come with a lot of hidden costs.

    Awesome you have a pool, you now have to buy chemicals or hire a pool service.

    Good tip?