Your First Home: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

By: Jake Marsh

The experience of purchasing your first home can be overwhelming. But it doesn't need to be. There are certain valuable insights that'll help you along the way, and ensure that you are in charge of your experience. Of course a great realtor can help you immensely, but as with anything in life you should know as much as possible, so you can make informed decisions that reflect your needs and desires.

As you begin your search, you'll really want to hone in one your parameters: what do you want in a home. You'll want to be clear about what type of home you want, what particular style, numbers of bedrooms, bathrooms, lot size, what sort of neighborhood you'd like to be in, what price range your looking at and what condition you require the home to be in. By knowing before hand what your personal parameters are, your realtor will be able to refine the process, and send you internet listings that truly suit your needs. From here, you'll hopefully have a good number of suitable homes to go take a look at. There's nothing worse than wasting your time looking at homes that just don't suit your needs. So, work to refine your search ahead of time.

Many first time home buyers want to know exactly how many homes they should look at before purchasing. Unfortunately, this is not an exact science, and you shouldn't listen to anyone who tells you, you must look at many houses, or that you should never purchase the first house you look at. It all comes back to really knowing what you want. If you do, you may find the process of looking easier. But again, it depends on what the market is doing at the time, and in the location you're looking. The best advice in this regard is to look at as many houses as you need to. Don't overwhelm your self on a daily basis by looking at too many houses at once. Plan a viewing schedule that suits your energy levels and schedule.

On this note, a great way to help you with your home search is to keep a journal while house hunting. In it list any unusual features, design elements and colors. Take note of what surrounds the house- what kind of lot it's on, and what's next door. Jot down notes about the neighborhood and what is around in terms of parks, schools, and any other noticeable construction. At the end of each viewing, rate the home an a scale of 1-10. Also, if you can, take along a digital camera so you can photo document aspects ( both good and bad) that you'd like to remember about each property.

It's important once you've narrowed down your search, to go back and view your top ranked properties a second time. By this point, you'll know which are the top few that you'd consider. By going back for a second visit you'll be able be even more discerning with your search.

In terms of making the final selection, your realtor should be there to inform you of any defects or potential faults he or she sees in the house, but essentially this decision should be all yours. And by this point, you can feel confident to follow your intuition and go with the house that fits your parameters and also just screams, "pick me!"

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