Buying your first home is an exciting milestone as you enter the housing market with your first piece of real estate. Knowing what to look for will help prevent any surprises along the way. Before you jump in and sign the papers, follow our tips on what to look for when buying your first home.
1. Know Your Budget
Your first home may require some improvements in the coming years. In addition to your mortgage payments, calculate how much money you need to set aside for home improvements, and ask yourself if it’s worth the investment. Renovations and replacing big-ticket items can often blow your budget.
2. Do Your Research
It’s easy to fall in love with a property and ignore the warning signs. Therefore, do your research and ask the right questions. Ask why the homeowner is selling and confirm it’s not due to the state of the house. Find out when the house was built and ensure there are no harmful materials such as asbestos or traces of radon. Take a look in the attic and ask about the quality and level of insulation. Check the property taxes and building permits for previous renovations. Visit the house at different times of the week to check traffic and surrounding noise levels. Be sure the pre-sale housing inspector is credible and trustworthy.
3. Check Windows
Windows should be airtight. If you can feel a draft of air coming through any windows, you may need to replace the weatherstripping or replace the windows altogether. If the windows are older, this is an opportunity to upgrade to energy-efficient vinyl windows, which can help lower your heating and cooling costs. Enquire if the windows are still under warranty and if these product warranties transfer to your new homeownership.
4. Inspect the Exterior
While the house’s interior may be in good condition, be sure to walk around the exterior to check for needed repairs, including signs you will need to replace the siding. Ask about the age of the siding. Vinyl, wood, steel and aluminum have different lifespans. While you may not be able to inspect the roof personally, get a professional to do this for you. Find out if you need to replace the roof in the near future.
5. Look For Moisture Damage
While you can easily pull up an old carpet and add a coat of paint to the walls to freshen up a room, reversing water damage can be an expensive task. Look for mold, rot and mildew on walls and ceilings. Interior moisture damage can often signify a bigger problem linked to roof or siding damage.