Buying my first house. Any tips/tricks?

Pretty straight forward. Looking to buy my first house; anyone have any tips/tricks? I've done a pretty good amount of research:
-Check for flood zones
-Researched crime rates
-Researched average price of homes in the area; trending of valuation
-Looked into loan types (FHA vs Conventional)
-Plan to pay for the inspection
-Researched school ratings
-Researched nearby amenities

Is there anything else I'm missing


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Most Helpful Girl

  • Average utility consumption.
    Past service and maintenance
    Existing cable tie-ins
    How many outlets are in each room and plan accordingly
    How old the roofing is
    How old the AC unit is
    Does it have old fireplaces in it? Home insurance will go up drastically if it does.

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

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What Girls Said 7

  • Check to make sure the house is on a city county or state road so that you don't end up having to do your own road maintence.

    Also tell your realtor you're a first time buyer and ask them for advice. Don't be afraid to change though if you feel they're not doing a good job.

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  • Make sure to check the house's past. I had a friend who had aggravated health issues because a meth lab was going on before they sold the house. Also, check for pest, dangerous organisms in and around the house, as well as the reliability of the seller.
    That's all I have in mind. Good luck!

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  • If you're a handy type, look for something that has potential for added value -unfinished basement, dirt lot that can be developed, outdated decor, room to build a garage, etc.

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    • Good answer.

      I was going to say the same thing, basically.

    • Show All
    • Yeah I get the fixer upper idea, and I am the handy type but what I lack is time. May sound a little snooty but I actually have more money than time these days; so I tend to just pay people to do things. As such I've kind of been looking for turn-key houses with everything ready to go and/or minimal changes needed. Good opinion though, thanks.

    • Nothing wrong with that. You're looking for a home more than you are an investment. I was coming at it from my perspective which is more about an investment. Different priorities!

  • No I don't know! I am sorry!

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  • Don't skimp on the home inspector. Get a good one.

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  • If at all possible you should try buying fully with cash or at least 40%-50% in cash this will save you a lot of money in the long run.

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    • Are you crazy? Maybe that's possible in the rest of the country where homes are only like 100 grand, but over here in the Bay Area if you want a single story 3 bedroom house, you're looking at AT LEAST 500 grand.

    • @JRICHARDS1996 Um if your single buying your first home why would you
      1. Throw yourself that far into debt
      2. Need three bedrooms in the priciest part of town? This is his FIRST home not the place you stay until you die.

    • @JRICHARDS1996 The less you pay in cash doubles the amount you pay later via the interest rate, plus he probably already has credit card debt and student loans...

  • be carefull with the GHOST AND DEMONS :0

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What Guys Said 20

  • Make your offer inclusive of the seller paying the buyer's closing costs.

    This will remove the incentive the seller has in playing games with not allowing to reasonable extensions of time, or not making certain repairs prior to closing. Additionally, if the seller is a builder/developer, both the seller and his real estate agent will prefer this approach.

    Consider the following two offers.

    Offer A: $500,000

    Offer B: $549,451, for financing purposes, this price includes provided that seller pays all of the purchaser's closings costs, an allowance for 2% commission for the buyer's agent, and an allowance for a 2% commission for the seller's agent.

    If closing costs are 5% of the mortgage amount, and the home has a 4% commissions split 50/50 between buyer and seller's broker, the result for the seller is the same (i. e., home is sold for $500,000). Yet, the seller's agent and builder/developer "prefer" the second kind of offer.

    Why?

    Because the agents gets to say, "LOOK! I sold this home for $549k Full asking price! See sellers? If you list with me, this is the kind of result I can get you!"

    The builder/developer is also able to attract capital much easier from investors. He can tell investors, "Hey, look at how much it cost me to build out this home, and look how much I ended up selling it for!"

    If it's one thing about Americans at large, it's that they're mentally lazy and don't think critically. They see the first number that pops out, and they stop asking questions. So, that just means there is room for flexibility (and room to make deals happen).

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  • Get radon testing. Some homes need mitigation.

    Be willing to pay a little more for a better location especially if communting is difficult in your area.

    Buy a little less home than the lender says you can afford. Lenders love big mortgages. Unfortunately that leaves you a bit cash strapped each month.

    Do some research on the neighborhood and neighbors. (Asking the clerk at the local convenience store and inquire of local insurance agents.)

    Buy a house that has a south facing garage door especially if you live in a snowy area. This will save you lots of work handling snow and ice.

    Check to see if the internet/cable service is adequate and affordable.

    Check to see if your cell phone works in most places in your house.

    Check about the reputation of your local schools. This can greatly affect the resale value of your house.

    Natural gas is cheap. Don't be stuck somewhere you have to buy propane or heating oil. Wait, just check on the cost of all energy you'll be needing and water and sewer rates, too.

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    • You sure know a lot of good things to look for in a house for someone your age, like the one about the garage facing south , it's also good for the big part of the roof to face that way if you plan on putting solar panels for longer sun exposure too

  • I am on my 4th house. When my then wife and I bought our first home we made every mistake in the book. We didn't talk about the pro's and con's of the different places we might live. We ended up about a mile from the water. When fish flies showed up she freaked out because she hated them. when I asked why would she want this house? she said "I didn't think about it".
    we basically saw and wanted the 1st house we looked at. Big mistake to a point.
    You have to be ready to pull the trigger on a house. The 2nd house we bought was only on the market 1 day when we found it and 3 days total by the time they accepted our offer. Any delay we would have lost it. but you have to be willing to lose them sometimes. There will always be other houses. WHen you first buy a home, you really don't know anything. Chances are your going to move multiple times in your life, but not necessarily. My mom and dad have lived in the same house since 1967. You have to be able to be happy if you stay. Usually, your going to buy that first house. Learn about home ownership, then eventually move on to the house you really want.
    All the things you list are fine if you have a family and need to be worried about things like school ratings. We moved to our 3rd home mainly due to the fact we didn't want our kids going to the High School that they would have had to go to. We moved to the North end of the same city where they are in one of the top 3 high schools in Michigan.
    No matter what, your going to make mistakes. It is a huge learning curve. I don't know if they still have all those home improvement shows they used to have. I learned most of what I know from watching my dad do so much around our house growing up, and those home shows. otherwise, Youtube will be your friend.

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  • Be there with the inspector because they mis things. If have a chimney, get a chimney inspection. I've had an inspector mis a cracked chimeny... -$3000. look how work was done... try to figure out if it was done well or shoddy... shoddy stuff has to be re-done too often... a poorly laid subfloor under tile causes cracks causing the whole thing to be replaced, etc..

    Yes look at the cars and neighbors houses... rae they kept up... see if you can meet them. Your neighbors make all the difference in the world whether you'll like being outside or not and enjoy social time. I have the best here... but I've helped to create that atmosphere by being social, helpful, respectful, and fun.

    Check how old things are: roof, a/c, furnace... that factors in when you'll dish out $$$$$ to replace.

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  • Be READY!! At the last fcking minute, they always NEED some document, something, just to stress you out!! Ask them, and again, and again, through the process, so they don't do that to you!! I know several people who had the same experience as me!! Last minute document, or you just can't close, so they can re-negotiate the points!!

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  • Well, you don't have to plan to pay for an inspection. You will be be forced to pay for inspection (unless you are paying with stacks of hundred dollar bills).

    Anyway though...

    Does it have natural gas, or just electricity.

    Does it come with appliances, if not be sure to budget for them (washer/dryer/fridge, etc).

    Landscaping: About a month after I moved into my house, I planted a hedge of blueberry bushes all the way around the back yard. It added some privacy in the Summer, and after about 3-4 years I had more healthy blueberries than I could possibly eat. So (depending on your location) you might want to think about dropping in some fruit right away (blueberries in the North, Citrus in the South, Apples too...)

    Do you have to worry about storm related power outages, and if so do you have access to backup power? I'm not sure I'd like to be caught in North Dakota without heat in the Winter, or Texas without A/C in the summer.

    When I was researching, I drew a line connecting where I worked, where I played tennis, and a college I was thinking of going to, and then searched inside that triangle. So I'd be sure to add work to the amenities.

    Also Costco will give you an opportunity to choose among a whole bunch of loans, plus you will get a nice kickback in the way of a Costco cash card.

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  • First time home buyer here too! Sounds like you're doing your homework, I'd go on many tours, look at the details, think about your day and commute, etc.

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  • Make sure its city water and not on a well the same thing with the septic tank. Check for bad wiring and and check for termites. Make sure there is no China dry wall as well

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  • Don't buy the first one you see.

    Measure ALL your furniture.

    Come back at a different time and see what the neighbourhood is like in the evening.

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  • Don't buy more home than you need so you can have a higher quality of life once you move in and start making mortgage payments.

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  • Did you put enough of a down payment to avoid the PMI? Start the star program as soon as you can if your state has it? If you raise your insurance deductible you save on the premium

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  • Check out your neighbors. And power plants, natural gas, local shopping, traffic, and if you garden local pests. Rain, snow, average heat in summer. Water supply. But most importantly be sure you can afford it. This will restrict your life some but if you like everything then enjoy. Be prepared for the unanticipated unexpected expenses. There will be some.

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  • If your state offers it, make sure you get your house homestead-ed

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  • Pro tip-fill your house with mood lighting-a few RGB strips from amazon will do, they'll look soooo cool :)

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  • Considering one with a finished basement... rent it out, essentially cutting your bills in half enabling you to pay the house off much faster.

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  • Yeah don't let your woman decorate it for you.

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  • Get a good closeing lawyer and have a good inspector to check the property out...

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  • I'm the wrong person to ask

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  • So are you asking more about where to buy your house rather than how and what to watch out for? Seems you just listed demographics.

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  • Most important things to look at are foundation cracks, plumbing design flaws, electrical issues and yes flood zones. The rest should be common sense and if you like it. Also do your best to get a 15 year mortgage.

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    • I agree! Look for cracks in walls as it could be an indication of foundation problems. Definitely get an inspection and do the required checks before purchasing. ( A good conveyancing lawyer will be able to assist). And pay off as soon as possible.

    • @Poppykate Yes indeed my smart friend :)

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