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6 Things First-Time Home Buyers Often Overlook

May 4, 2022

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6 Things First-Time Home Buyers Often Overlook

If you're thinking about becoming a homeowner, you want to find the home of your dreams. 

But with the excitement of being a first time home buyer, it can be easy to overlook several things during the search and the buying process. From extra costs to the neighborhood dynamic, there's a lot to take into account when searching for your first home. 

Here are some things to keep in mind so you'll know exactly what you're getting into!

EXTRA COSTS

PROPERTY TAXES

If you're trying to figure out how much home you can afford, pay attention to property taxes in your area. The monthly payments for two homes with the exact same selling price can be vastly different. That difference often boils down to the property taxes assessed.

Homes in neighboring municipalities or neighboring school districts might be located just blocks from one another but be miles apart in terms of monthly payments.

CLOSING COSTS AND INSPECTIONS 

Home inspections and closing costs are expenses that homebuyers often don't think about - or might not know exist - until they buy their first home. Mortgage lenders don't always require a home inspection, but it's important to know that it's a potential cost.

Closing costs help ensure the professionals you work with during a real estate transaction get paid for their services. Sometimes, first time buyers can get closing costs written into the contract to have the seller cover them. Know that in a competitive buying market like today's, your seller might not be as willing to make this concession and you will have to pay these costs yourself.

SPACE, HOME SYSTEMS, AND STRUCTURAL ISSUES 

SPACE ISSUES

It might seem hard to believe that anyone would overlook closet space in a home, but it happens quite frequently.

When looking at the overall location, layout, and features of a home, it's easy to miss a detail like the fact that there is no coat closet in the entry hall. Think about your storage needs and expectations for closet space and make at least a mental note about it for every home you tour.

Likewise, think about open floor plans. These home layouts have been extremely popular in recent years. They're open, airy, and great for entertaining. But now that we've entered the days of remote work and online schooling, open floor plans don't always provide the privacy and quiet you need.

HOME SYSTEMS AND STRUCTURAL ISSUES 

Home systems can be tricky to check even during home inspections conducted by a professional.

The result can be an unexpected expense for appliances and home systems that reach the end of their usefulness shortly after you move in. You might turn on the HVAC to make sure it works, but if you're buying a home in the winter, you won't really know how well the air conditioner cools until you live in the home during the summer!

It's also easy to dismiss something like a crooked door frame when it adds charm to an older home, but it could also be a sign of serious issues with the foundation. Be sure that your inspector checks for things like moist basements that might be susceptible to mold and crawl spaces that could be entrances and exits for rodents and pests.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD DYNAMIC

NOISE AND PARKING 

It's not unusual for homebuyers to visit at times when a lot of people are not at home. Pulling up in front of a house, you easily find parking and the neighborhood seems quiet and idyllic. But if you visit that same neighborhood at another time of day, you might have a different experience. If possible, "drop in" on your potential neighborhood at varying times to see what it's like throughout the week.

HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATIONS AND SCHOOLS

Much like property taxes, a homeowner association (HOAs) is something to be aware of before you purchase a home.

Many homebuyers find themselves surprised by high HOA fees while others find themselves feeling constrained by an HOA's rules for a neighborhood. HOAs charge fees to pay for neighborhood amenities, such as pools or groundskeeping of common areas, but they can also come with rules on how to maintain your property. 

Ask your real estate agent about the HOA's fees and expectations. If your real estate agent is unfamiliar with the neighborhood, chat with neighbors when you visit the home. If someone thinks the fees are too high or the rules too stringent, they will probably tell you!

Even if you don't have children, check out the schools. School quality is a key factor in how desirable your neighborhood is and how your home is valued, so future assessments and your own ability to sell one day can be affected by a district's reputation.

If you're looking to purchase your first home, our professionals at Orizon Real Estate can help you get started and assist you in navigating today's market. Give us a call at 260-248-8961.