Tuesday, March 4, 2014

5 Simple Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

A starter home does not and should not mean you have to buy a house that you're not really that fond of and are already thinking about selling before you even move in. By conducting a little due diligence and having a checklist of both wants and must-haves, you can start your home buying experience without many, if any, pangs of regret. Think about these few items before you start your Elizabethtown KY real estate search.

If you're in the market for a starter home you may be either newly married or a young professional or both. So odds are you are at a point where the number of family members you have has not been finalized yet. Buying a starter home doesn't have to mean you need to move two years from when you move in. Consider at least one more bedroom than you currently need or a house with space in an easy to convert area like a basement where you can expand. Basically start by looking for more room than you currently need. This way you don't want to have to sell your house every time you add a family member. Homes with 3 or more bedrooms sell a lot faster than homes with only 2. Many Elizabethtown KY home buyers set their search parameters for a minimum of 3 bedrooms so they won't even see a home with 2.

There are several areas you should consider as the "infrastructure" of any house you're considering buying. Roofing, flooring, heating, cooling, windows and gutters all come to mind. Be sure to ask exactly when these were last replaced, if ever, and check with a licensed contractor to see what the normal lifespan is for each. Your local Elizabethtown KY home inspector can answer many of your questions. First of all, "starter home" shouldn't mean fixer upper. Second of all, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to get money either off the purchase price or to be paid at closing if any of these major items are at or past normal their typical lifetime.

Location, location, location has always been the real estate mantra but right after that it should be closets, closets, closets. This is especially true in the bedrooms where you'll want to store a lot of clothing and personal items. Make sure you are satisfied with the amount of storage space you'll have to work with once you move in. Walk in closets are great but not always easy to make part of the floor plan so don't thumb your nose at his and her traditional bi-fold door closet space if it fits what you need. Also consider your overall storage footprint including attic and basement areas.

Think about a home office. Some companies encourage working from home and having a specific workspace will make it that much easier to be productive and may even win you more flexibility in your work or office schedule. A home office can also become a guest room or expand into a regular bedroom if need be when your family does expand and you don't want to trade-up. If houses you look at have both a den (bonus room) and a living room, the smaller of the two can easily be used as office space without losing a bedroom in the process.

Does it have more than one bathroom? That should be one of the first questions you ask whether this is your first home purchase or not. Three bedrooms, one bath sounds so close to three bedrooms two baths, but it's not. In fact, it's miles and miles away. Many older homes, especially those with three or less bedrooms, have only one bath. Unless you absolutely know where you would put one in yourself and are ready to take on the project or the expense, make sure you have multiple baths in the properties you're looking at to buy.

Buying a home will always be one of the most important and (can be) stressful decisions you make. Knowing what you want, what you need, and what can absolutely wait until your next home purchase are very important facts to get straight before you start your search. Be sure to spell everything out to your Elizabethtown KY real estate agent so they do not waste time (yours and theirs) by showing you homes you would never consider. Remember to relax and work your way through the process in a positive manner; it should be exciting not excruciating to buy your first home.