Our Real Estate Blog
Being in the market for a new home can be both an exciting experience and a scary one! It not only represents a huge financial commitment, but it also forces you to step out of your "comfort zone."
That's especially true if you're a first-time home buyer. When you make the switch from being a renter to a home owner, you no longer have the "luxury" of depending on your landlord for repairs, yard maintenance, or help with plumbing emergencies. Now, when the AC quits or the furnace conks out, the responsibility (and cost) of getting it fixed rests squarely on your shoulders!
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the possibility of incurring major expenses during the first couple years of owning a home. While there are (usually) no guarantees that household mechanical systems won't fail or that other crises won't befall you as a new homeowner, there are choices you can make that will reduce the chances of being saddled with unexpected expenses.
Buying a home with a newer roof, energy-efficient appliances, updated HVAC system, and a dry basement are four ways you can sidestep many predictable problems down the road. Wear and tear will eventually take its toll on everything from hot water heaters to microwave ovens, but if you can postpone having to replace appliances, roofs, and climate-control systems for several years or more, it will be a lot easier on you and your budget!
So all things being equal, home ownership will be more pleasurable and affordable if you choose a home with recent upgrades, replacements, and improvements -- preferably, those done within the past five or ten years. Besides comparing the maintenance history of houses you're considering, there's also the essential step of hiring an experienced structural inspector. When you've narrowed down your house-buying possibilities to one preferred home, a property inspector can help you identify "red flags" and potential problems before you close on that house.
As your real estate agent will probably tell you, if any major problems are identified in the home inspection process, you may be in a position to renegotiate the agreement or withdraw your offer, entirely. Since legalities are often complex and every real estate transaction is different, however, it's always essential to consult with an experienced real estate attorney whenever questions, problems, or complications arise in a real estate purchase or sale.
While it's a good idea to "expect the unexpected" when purchasing and moving into a new home, it pays to work with a team of trusted advisors. Working with a seasoned real estate agent, a knowledgeable real estate attorney, and a reputable property inspector will help make sure that your experience is both satisfying and relatively problem free! Knowing what you want and being adamant about what matters most to you should also serve you well in the house buying process.
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Having a family changes a lot. For one, your priorities about where you’d like to live change. This shift could be from a desire to live near restaurants and bars to parks and the best schools in a safe neighborhood. If you want to find a good neighborhood to search for a home in, there are a few things that you can research ahead of time before you even start your search for a home.
Research School Districts
For most parents, the school district in which they choose to live is an important part of the decision where to live. If you don’t know the area, or aren’t sure how the schools are, there are plenty of tools to help you. A quick online search can help you to compare and contrast neighboring school districts. Another important question to ask to find a suitable school district is if they actually have room for all of the students that would like to be enrolled in the school of your choice. You can also talk to people in the community about the schools and how they feel about them. Even a visit to local schools can help you to see what the education system in a certain neighborhood is all about.
Once you have a family, safety becomes even more of a priority. You do all of the right things from feeding your family well to baby-proofing the home. Yet, one thing that’s sometimes hard to control is the safety of the area that we live in. You’re going to want to find a neighborhood with low crime rate. There’s a few different tools online that help you to check the crime rates in certain areas. Don’t assume that the city is less safe than the suburbs, or even a rural area. Doing research and getting to know the area is key to finding a safe place to settle down in.
Shortcuts And Speedways
In the same realm as safety, you want to check out the actual street that you hope to settle down on. Some streets can be used as shortcuts and can end up being a speedway. You should check to make sure that the street you choose isn't a high traffic route. You’ll never feel comfortable having your children outside playing if you know that traffic is so dangerous on your street.
Once you have a family, you suddenly find a need to build a network of other parents and families that are just like you. A good way to tell a family friendly neighborhood could be just taking a peek through it. If you see families outside for a walk together, toys in the front yard, or a thriving neighborhood park, it’s a good bet that your home will be in a family-friendly community.