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Home > Home Buying Tips > Guidelines for First Time Home Buyers

Guidelines for First Time Home Buyers


Many first time home buyers feel as though they are limited in what they can buy because of budget restrictions. While it may be true that you cannot afford to purchase just any home this does not mean that you cannot and should not look for a home that fits all of your needs and desires. In many cases; however, the number of different homes on the market can be absolutely overwhelming, especially for new home buyers. This is why it is extremely important to give careful consideration to what you're looking in a home before you actually begin looking at homes. Failing to identify your needs and narrowing down the parameters before you begin shopping for a home can lead to confusion and that often results in buyer' remorse. Make sure this doesn't happen to you by taking the time to address your most important needs and desires beforehand.

Location & Neighborhood

In many cases, as a first time homebuyer, you will need to narrow down whether you want to live in an urban setting, the suburbs or a more rural environment. Of course, numerous considerations go into making this decision including proximity to work, school, entertainment, shopping and worship centers. You should also know that while it may be more expensive to live in urban area there are numerous advantages associated with this type of neighborhood. Commuting time is often less and you will generally have more options to choose from in terms of style and floor plans. Keep in mind; however, that urban locations are often noisier and generally come with higher crime rates.

Regardless of whether you choose to live in the city or the country you will need to give some thought to the type of street you want to live on as well as the types of lot that interest you. Cul de sacs offer less traffic that busier streets and are idea locations for families with children; however, they are also less private than busier streets. It is also important to take into consideration the fact that cul de sac locations are usually more expensive. Corner lots provide you with more room to roam; however, they are also typically noisier than other locations. Because of the vulnerable location at the corner of the street, you may also have more problems with trespassing.

Type of Home

After you have narrowed down the location of where you would like to live it is time to begin giving some thought to the type of home in which you want to live. Remember there are numerous choices and just because you're a first time homebuyer doesn't mean you can't afford to be somewhat choosy about the home you ultimately purchase. Single family homes have traditionally appreciated well in the real estate market, making them a sound investment. Of course that also means they are more expensive. While condos and townhomes are less expensive than single family residences they provide less privacy. It is also important to consider the differences in maintenance between the two options. Single family homes may give you the opportunity to have a small garden or provide room for the kids to play outside, but that means you have more maintenance responsibilities. While co-ops and condos do not provide that kind of space, there are almost no exterior maintenance requirements on your part.

Number of Stories

Always consider how many levels and stories you want in your future home. In some cases your decision may be based on aesthetics alone; however, medical conditions and ease of maintenance can also play into that decision. Single story homes are much easier for wheelchair access as well as individuals who find it difficult to climb stairs. Homes with just one level are also much easier to clean. On the downside, these homes are often less quiet and there can be security issues as well. Homes with more than one story can be quieter, particularly for the sleeping quarters; however, some people feel they are more difficult to clean as well as to maintain even heating and cooling.

Interior Specifications

Other factors you will want to take into consideration when narrowing down the parameters for your first home include the number of bedrooms and baths you need, whether you desire any bonus rooms and your need for formal living spaces versus informal living spaces. Remember that homes with more square footage are typically more expensive. Many first time homebuyers make the mistake of thinking the actual square footage of a home is one of the most important considerations. This is actually not correct. Even a home with a lot of square footage can be a bad buy if the lay-out is not handled well. Take the time to really focus on the lay out the rooms in the house. If it's handled well, you can really pack a lot into a small space without paying a lot of extra money for additional square footage.

Also give some consideration to how much work you're willing to put into a home. Homes that need a little TLC are often less expensive than homes that are in pristine condition. Of course, that means you will be responsible for handling those repairs, either yourself or through a contractor. If you're into home improvement; however, this can be a great way to shave a few dollars off your mortgage every month.

When you actually begin to look at homes it is very important to weight or rank the homes as you view them. The home buying process can be extremely confusing as you view one home after the next. Come prepared! Bring along a notepad and a digital camera, if at all possible. Taking pictures of the homes you view will help you to put things in perspective later on and you will be more likely to recall the homes as they actually are. Take notes regarding everything, including the homes' surroundings. After you view each home, take the time to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10.

Remain firm and never allow yourself to be pushed or persuaded into making a decision until you're ready. Remember to narrow down the homes you've seen to your top choices and then look at those homes again to be absolutely sure you haven't overlooked something that might become a major issue later on. If you are first time home buyer and follow this simple guidelines, you'll more likely to find your dream home.


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