First-Time Home Buying 101: Key Factors to Consider Before Taking the Plunge

Here are some key factors to consider as a first-time home buyer when purchasing or building a new home:

  • Location – Consider proximity to work, schools, amenities, public transportation, etc. Also research the neighborhood and area for safety, noise levels, future development plans, etc. Drive around at different times to get a feel for the vibe.
  • Budget – Get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know your price range. Factor in not just the purchase price but closing costs, insurance, property taxes, HOA fees if applicable. Leave room in your budget for move-in costs and repairs/updates.
  • House size – Consider your current and future space needs. More bedrooms if you plan on having kids. Storage, yard size, garage space, etc. Measure furniture to see what fits.
  • Layout and flow – Look for an efficient and logical floorplan that fits your lifestyle. How do the spaces connect? Work zones separated? Privacy?
  • Condition – For resale homes, inspect carefully and get a professional inspection. Check the roof, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, potential for lead paint or asbestos. Understand costs to update or repair.
  • Energy efficiency – Newer homes tend to be more efficient. Look for Energy Star appliances, good windows, modern insulation, solar options. This saves on utility bills.
  • Property taxes – Understand tax rates in the area. Higher with newer homes in good school districts.
  • Commute – Drive your regular commute to see traffic patterns and timing. Convenient to your lifestyle?
  • School district – If you have kids, research school options and ratings. Also check class sizes.
  • Resale value – If planning to sell someday, choose neutral updates and timeless over trendy. Curb appeal also helps resale.
  • Yard – Look at lot size, landscaping, need for sprinklers, lighting, fencing. Any HOA rules?

Looking for a Home Buying checklist, download it here

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