9 Factors to Consider When Buying a Home for the First Time
Did you know that the national homeownership rate in the US is 65.6%? The rates per region are 63.1% in the Northeast, 70.3% in the Midwest, 67.4% in the South, and 59.7% in the West. Also, Americans who are 65, as well as older, have a rate of 79.3%.
If you’re thinking of joining the majority of Americans and becoming a homeowner by buying a new home, this can be a very exciting process.
At the same time, however, it can be quite daunting or stressful because it’s such a big decision.
Fortunately, in this article, we’ll review all the factors to consider when buying a home for the first time.
Finally, you can become a first-time homeowner knowing that you’ve made your decision of which house to buy with all the right knowledge. Read on to learn more.
1. Lot Size
When you’re buying a house, one of the factors you should consider is lot size. Often, people will pay a lot of attention to the size of the house itself without actually thinking about the property they’re buying that surrounds it. However, you should consider this.
As you look at different first house options, consider whether you want a small or large lot size, whether you prefer an interior one or one on the corner, and whether you want a pie, rectangular, or irregular shape.
Needs such as driveway length, how you plan to use the lawn, space for a dog house, and how much privacy you want will all impact what size and lot shape you’re looking for.
When you’re visiting these places, ask the realtor about where the lot ends, as well as for a description and its dimensions.
Additionally, if there’s an extra lot attached to the property, think about what you might be able to build on it later on.
This might be a reason to buy a home if you’d like to build another building, such as a workshop or second garage, on that additional lot.
One of the most important factors first time home buyers should think about is location. What you should look for is a house that’s in an area that provides easy access to the places you go to most, such as your workplace, schools, or shopping areas.
Other places you might want to have easy access to include places for recreation, a worship center you go to, and where your family and friends live.
So before you buy your home, think about where these places are in regards to different neighborhoods. Then, you can choose which neighborhoods your home would ideally be in.
For some buyers, the place where the home is in the neighborhood can be important too. Do you prefer to be closer to a busy road that gives you easy access to your home, or do you want to be in a secluded cul-de-sac?
Consider your answer to this question before choosing your first home.
3. Number of Bedrooms
Something else a first-time homeowner has to consider is the number of bedrooms in their new home. Usually, people want to have at least two, so that they have a master bedroom and an additional room. If they’re planning on having children, they’ll include these, too.
In addition to how many bedrooms you might want for your family, you might think about adding additional rooms, such as an exercise room, playroom, den, or office.
Think about your current lifestyle and any changes you think it might have over the years. This can help you determine how many bedrooms you want your new house to have.
4. Number of Bathrooms
In addition to the number of bedrooms, you have to think about how many bathrooms you’re looking to have in your first home.
Sometimes, older homes might have only one bathroom. If you come across a home like this, see if it’s possible to complete a renovation if you need an additional bathroom.
In newer homes, there might be more bathrooms. However, are they half-bathrooms or full-bathrooms? Figure out what type of bathrooms you need throughout your home.
To decide on this, it can help to think about how many children you think you might have and how often you’ll be hosting guests.
If you want to fit in a large bath or jacuzzi, then this is something to consider, too.
5. The Condition, Style, and Age of Appliances
Because it can be expensive to replace appliances, it’s important to check out the condition, style, and age of the appliances in the different homes you’re considering. To get started, think about your preferences. For example, do you prefer using a gas stove?
In this case, you should only consider homes that have this setup—or be ready to pay for this change, once you’ve checked that you’re legally allowed to make this switch.
Then you can think about the appliances in the kitchen. When it comes to kitchen appliances, there are some, such as microwaves, that are easy to install if they aren’t in the home.
However, larger appliances such as refrigerators or dishwashers are pricier and there might not be room for them.
So double-check the space in case you need to install one of these in the kitchen.
Other appliances you should check include humidifiers, air conditioners, boilers or furnaces, water heaters, water softeners, dryers, and washers.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to do this on your own. This is where having a home inspection can be helpful.
Keep in mind, as well, that home sellers will sometimes take their appliances with them. Speak with your realtor about this, and about how much replacement costs will be if any old or run-down appliances need replacing.
6. Kitchen Layout
When you’re exploring the housing market and checking out different houses, you’ll notice that the layout of kitchens can vary. Do you want a large kitchen that has a lot of storage, sinks, and counter space? Do you want it to be an open kitchen or separate from other areas?
While there are renovations you can do, these can be expensive. For this reason, you should envision what type of kitchen layout you want and look for homes that have it.
7. The House’s Age
One of the decisions you have to make when choosing your first home is what age home you’re looking for. For example, you might only be interested in newly constructed homes.
If this is the case, let your realtor know, especially if there are many older homes in the region where you’re looking.
If you’re interested in older homes, there are additional considerations you have to think about.
For example, an older home might require you to complete upgrades and repairs. Think about how much you can budget for this when looking at these homes.
It’s also important to know what building codes are in the neighborhood where the older home is, as well as the local area and state.
If you don’t have this information, make sure you speak with your realtor. The last thing you want is to buy an older home you plan to repair, only to find that you aren’t permitted to.
8. The Price
Even before you start researching homes and visiting open houses, you should figure out what your price range is for your first home and get pre-approved for a home loan.
Remember too that, when you buy a home, you’re paying for more than only the purchase price.
Speak with your realtor about all the costs involved in buying a home so you can be sure you can afford your new home as well as these additional costs.
9. The Seller’s Motivation to Sell
Finally, it helps to think about how motivated the seller is to sell. If they aren’t in a rush to do so, they might not have much motivation to sell to you. A seller who’s in a hurry to sell, on the other hand, is more likely to accept your offer—and, possibly, a lower one.
You can speak with your realtor to determine this, as well as how much it makes sense to offer for your offer and counteroffer.
Want to Learn More About Buying A Home?
Now that you’ve learned about which factors you need to consider when buying a home for the first time, you might want to learn more about buying a home.
Maybe you want to learn more about the costs of changes you can make to a home after buying it or how to negotiate when home buying.
Whatever you want to learn, you can find out more on our blog. Simply go to the Finance/ Personal Finance section of our blog, where you can learn more about how to save money when buying a home.
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