A Guide to Buying a House for Beginners
Buying your first home is an exciting undertaking. It could potentially be the home that will house your family for generations to come. That said, the home-buying process has a lot of moving parts. Before you can place a bid, you have to think about everything from how you’ll fund the purchase, how to find a reputable real estate agent, and how to find the right contractors for inspections, to what you can compromise on and what you can’t. While the process can sometimes get overwhelming, it doesn’t have to. To walk you on this journey, here’s a guide to buying a house for beginners.
1. Is the Home’s Structure Good?
Signs of structural damage should be a major cause for concern when buying a house for beginners. Things that initially appear to be minor issues can quickly grow into major issues that could be potentially dangerous and necessitate expensive repairs. For example, bulging or cracks on ceilings and walls should be looked into. Even though not all wall or ceiling cracks signify structural problems, you should nonetheless pay close attention to them and investigate them further. Small cracks can grow into more serious issues over time. If you notice a sagging ceiling accompanied by large cracks over doorways in a step pattern, there’s a much more serious problem.
Soil pulling away from the house walls is also cause for concern. Seasonal changes cause soil to expand and shrink. Check the deck areas, porch, and patio. If you detect soil pulling away from the walls of a home significantly, it’s a sign that the foundation wasn’t laid properly. Cracks in the chimney are another sign of structural damage. Cracks in your chimney’s bricks and/or mortar can easily be spotted from outside a home. Cracks in a chimney, like those in other exterior walls, indicate that the home is shifting and putting too much strain on the bricks.
Cracking, sloping, or sagging floors shouldn’t be ignored. These problems indicate shifts in a home’s foundation. The more movement there is, the more structural imperfections you’ll notice. A damp subfloor is also a cause for concern. A damp subfloor is a sign that the floors don’t have enough ventilation. Surface stains and other signs of deterioration indicate the presence of rotting floor timbers damaged by moisture.
Uneven or sagging roofs are a sign of issues with the roof structure, and shouldn’t be overlooked. This may be brought on by termite damage, the removal of load-bearing walls, or the overloading of supporting elements. Investigate crumbling concrete or brick as well. While rare, concrete and/or masonry exposed to excessive moisture levels, chemicals, or both may begin to erode. The concrete crumbles as a result of a chemical reaction that breaks up the material’s bond. This kind of erosion often affects the lower brickwork beneath your home’s waterproofing membrane.
If you notice any of the above signs of structural damage, you should probably start considering another listing.
2. Is the Yard Safe for Your Children and/or Pets?
Having a great backyard for your children and pets to play in is one of the main appeals of owning a home. It also offers a perfect space for spending quality time with family during gatherings. However, it comes with its fair share of risks. Similar to how there may be hidden dangers within the house, there can be many unanticipated dangers in the backyard as well. One of the most dangerous elements in your yard is a natural one that you have limited control over. Some trees grow to be quite large over time, but size alone doesn’t guarantee strength and safety.
Kids often can’t resist climbing stuff. If there are any climbable trees in the yard, have them inspected to ensure they’re in good health. Look out for branches that could be prone to snapping. Weak branches are not only a problem if your children climb on them, but they could also fall and land on a family member, friend, or pet. If the vegetation has gone out of hand but you still want to buy the home, you may have to factor in land clearing costs from a professional land clearing company.
There’s also the risk of kids wandering off. Look out for fences with self-latching and self-closing gates which help ensure kids and pets stay in the yard. If a fence isn’t present, at least make sure there are well-defined boundaries where your children can play. If a home has asphalt, inspect its condition. Kids can easily slip and fall on an uneven asphalt surface, especially in a busy place like a parking lot. Inspecting whether a yard is safe is another great tip in this guide for buying a house for beginners.
3. How’s the Wiring?
If you’re buying a home, you’ll likely have some kind of structural survey done because most lenders won’t give you a mortgage without one. However, this shouldn’t be the only inspection you have done. Having a certified electrician inspect a home’s electrical system before you place a bid could save you a significant amount of money down the road, and is one of the best tips for buying a house for beginners. A comprehensive electrical inspection involves looking for exposed or uncovered wires, outdated electrical appliances, and wiring, as well as checking safety switches, power boxes, and smoke alarms. The inspection also aims to identify any electrical hazards.
Having an electrical inspection done before you buy a home puts the ball in the current homeowner’s court. If any electrical issues are revealed by the inspection, you’ll be able to bargain for a lower price for the home. If not, you can persuade the current owner to get any necessary repairs done instead of lowering the asking price for the home.
In certain instances, an electrical inspection will reveal problems that are so serious that you may be better off avoiding the property entirely. Unless you’re ready to spend thousands of dollars on electrical repairs to bring the structure up to code, never buy a home with major safety issues. Once you’ve bought a home, have an electrical inspection and service performed periodically. Doing this will likely result in substantial long-term savings.
4. Is There AC?
The average body temperature of a human is 98°F (37°C). You can only stay comfortable in a structure when the temperature around you is lower than your body temperature. There are several places on earth that experience pleasant and comfortable weather all year long. However, you may find that the area of residence you’re considering experiences temperatures that exceed 100°F during summer. The good news is that we live in a modernized world with air conditioners that allow you to control indoor temperatures.
Extremely high temperatures can be harmful to your health in many ways. Some of the health issues you may be at risk of if your home doesn’t have a central air system during summer include:
- Low blood pressure
- Heat exhaustion
- Nausea and fainting
- Muscle cramps and fatigue
- Dehydration as a result of constant prespiration
The aforementioned health issues are serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Heat stroke is a common cause of death for people across the globe every day. However, a working AC can help you avoid these health problems.
Additionally, an air conditioning unit purifies indoor air. These units are designed to push cool, fresh air into the home while drawing in all the contaminated air and pushing it out. In a home with a working air conditioning unit, a room’s entire air supply is replenished every four hours.
During summer, a home without adequate air conditioning can be a nightmare to sleep in. Even if you sleep for longer periods while it’s hot outside, you’ll still feel exhausted when you wake up. Sleeping in colder environments lowers heart rate and encourages normal blood pressure levels to promote a good night’s sleep. In addition to investing in AC, making sure the home you’re thinking of purchasing is in an ideal area is a great tip for buying a house for beginners.
5. What Furniture and Appliances Do You Need?
When buying a house, you need to consider the furniture and appliances you need. For furniture, you’ll need a good bed from a reputable bed shop, an armchair, a dining table, practical dining chairs, a quality sofa, a coffee table, a dresser, and some sort of shelving. While there’s more, these basics should cover you before you completely settle in your new home.
When it comes to appliances, you may find some of the major ones already in place. Confirm whether there is a washing machine, dishwasher, freezer, microwave oven, cooktop, or refrigerator with a freezer. You should also consider countertop appliances such as an electric kettle, coffeemaker, blender, mixer, or toaster. After identifying what you’ll need, head to the nearest appliance store to confirm the prices. This tip for buying a house for beginners will help you better prepare for when the time to move comes.
6. Is the Home in a Convenient Location?
It’s said that the three most crucial considerations when purchasing a home are location, location, and location. Almost everything else can be altered, but the location of your home can’t. There are several factors to consider when choosing a place to live. While not all of them will apply to your case, and some carry more weight than others, factoring in all of them will give you a better idea of the type of community you want to live in.
Think about the future when making this decision. Are you going to stay in your new home for a few years? This may have an impact on the sort of mortgage you will receive or the cost of living you can handle. Or do you intend to reside there for the foreseeable future? Find out if your new community has facilities and services to support you as you age. Are there assisted living facilities or retirement homes you could consider moving to in the future?
If you want to reduce the number of steps you have to climb, you might want to consider a ranch. If you’re planning to expand your family, are there quality childcare facilities in the region? Will you afford a house big enough to accommodate the kids you plan to have? Does the area have kid-friendly dentist offices? Even if ‘I don’t know’ is the response to most of these queries, it’s still important to consider them! The location is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a house for beginners.
7. Are You Buying With a Reliable Professional?
Mortgage loan officers, bankers, contractors, property managers, home inspectors, appraisers, government organizations, as well as potential buyers and sellers are just a few of the many different players in the world of residential real estate. The real estate agents and brokers, however, are the unsung heroes of the average real estate transaction. A competent real estate agent manages the various players to facilitate a successful transaction, much like the conductor of a symphony. The real estate agent plays a variety of roles throughout the transaction, including marketer, negotiator, consultant, business manager, analyst, buyer’s advocate, and salesperson, just to name a few.
Find out if anyone in your network knows of a real estate agent with a proven track record. Ideally, you want an agent who has worked with clients just like you. For example, first-time buyers have different demands than repeat purchasers or homeowners wishing to downsize. Look for a Realtor, with a capital R, when choosing a real estate agent. That indicates that they have formally pledged to uphold the National Association of Realtors (NAR) code of ethics and are a member of the organization. In order to demonstrate that they have received training in a particular field of competence, some realtors hold certificates. Making sure you work with a reliable professional is the most invaluable tip for buying a house for beginners.
Your first home purchase will be an exciting and challenging experienceF. To help you maneuver the process, use this guide for buying a house for beginners.