Buying your first home can be quite a journey, and it can also be emotionally exhausting. You have to establish what you’re looking for, needs versus wants. Consider pricing and narrow in on the right home for you. Remember though, if this is your first home it doesn’t have to be your one and only home. There will always be plausible ways to upgrade down the line and find different features that make a big difference.
This topic is near and dear to my heart because my brother and his wife finally bought their first home after years and years of living in apartments in Chicago. They had a goal of moving to an area where they could hike, bike, go camping, and enjoy the outdoors a lot more. Plus the idea of lugging a stroller (for the eventual children they might have – hint, hint!) up two flights of stairs in a snowstorm was not too appealing. They left Chicago and a year later closed on their first home. I think I might be more excited than they are!
Regardless of the home you finally settle on, there are certain features you’ll want to make sure are there when buying your first home. So here we will discuss those features and exactly why you’ll want them. Pools and other attractive features are a wonderful bonus but they should probably take a back seat when it comes to the top four considerations to make.
- A monthly expense that’s feasible
The first thing on this list is often overlooked. The exterior and location are of course important. But if your monthly expense is going to create other problems for you, it might be something to consider passing on. Being house poor really stinks. I’ve been there. Imagine coming home from a long day at work and wanting to go out for dinner but you can’t. Or wanting to go to Miami for your best friend’s wedding and there’s no money left over in the budget. Your mortgage, utilities, insurance, and even maintenance costs. When you’re looking at what your monthly expenses will be look at more than just what the house costs and make sure you won’t be spending your whole paycheck on the house.
Consider all possible expenses associated with the house on top of your mortgage. Also add a cushion of possible expenses that you may not be able to foresee. If you can’t comfortably plan for the extent of these expenses, it might be time to look else where. Buying your first home is scary enough without being sick to your stomach each month when you pay the mortgage. Balance out those costs by looking for something a little further away from where you want to be, or with a lower initial price tag.
- Little maintenance needed
Maintenance costs can often be difficult to plan for, due to their unpredictable nature. What’s important to consider here is the age of the home itself. If you picked a home that’s well over 10 years in age and hasn’t had a quality remodel since its initial construction, you may be in for excessive costs.
It’s always worth looking into newly constructed subdivisions in your area. These new homes are often very similar in their floor plans and have been replicated a number of times. How new they are, paired with how many times they’ve been setup can leave you with less needed maintenance down the line.
- Room for the family
If you’re planning on bringing your family into this first home then you’ll certainly need room to expand into. You might be moving in with just your significant other, but you could find yourself with children running around soon as well. If that’s at all a possibility plan accordingly. Another possibility is bringing your parents in to live with you. So if either of those sound like something that may happen for you at the very least plan on having an additional room.
If you do have the potential purchasing power use it to buy space as opposed to unnecessary finishes. You can easily add to the amount of space you have in certain rooms by opening them up. However, trying to increase your square footage down the line will prove to be more difficult. Room additions are not cheap!
- Easy Transition
If possible don’t choose the home that will transport you away from your friends and the things you love. If you enjoy community theater or you play flag football with your friends on the weekends stay relatively connected to those circles of your life. Your first home doesn’t have to uproot your entire lifestyle.
Really research the community you’re considering when buying your first home. If you find one that will also give you easy access to some of your favorite hobbies and entertainment outlets then you might have found the ideal location. If you have kids or plan to have them someday, research the schools.
That all being said buying a space close to work is critical. Your daily commute can become quite a process so if you can make it at all easier then do so! Atlanta traffic, as you well know, is NO JOKE. If you work downtown you might get a great deal in Ball Ground but do you really want to commute that far? Try to find a balance between what you need and what you want.
My best tip is to find a house where you love all the things about it that you can’t change – the neighborhood, the schools, that it’s on a cul-de-sac, that it will only take you 20 minutes to get to work, the price. Then look at the things you don’t like – the kitchen is dated, the light fixtures scream 1998, the mint green paint is hideous, the curb appeal is nonexistent. If you changed those things over time would it increase the value of your house? Can you do them without spending a fortune? It is always worth it to me to make cosmetic changes if the bones of the house are great. But if you buy a drop dead gorgeous house in a crappy neighborhood, you’ll have trouble selling it down the road because you can’t change the surroundings, no matter how great the house is.
If you have any questions regarding any of the areas around town don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions. If you’re looking for more real estate related tips feel free to check out the rest of my blog. Buying your first house is a big deal and I have tons of experience helping first time buyers. Thanks for visiting!
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About the Author: The above article “When Buying Your First Home Make Sure It Has These 4 Things” was provided by Karin Carr. Karin has helped literally helped almost 200 families buy and sell homes since 2005. If you are in the market to BUY or SELL a home, she can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 404-855-1807.
Are you thinking of selling your home? I’m very good at marketing homes to sell quickly, and for more money. If you’re a first-time home buyer then you’ll be in good hands. I’ve helped countless first-time home buyers through the entire process of buying that first home! I have a real passion for helping folks buy and sell homes here in the great state of Georgia and I would love to connect with you!
I help people buy and sell real estate in the following north Georgia cities: Acworth, Ball Ground, Canton, Kennesaw, Woodstock, White, Roswell, Milton, Alpharetta, Dallas, Powder Springs, and the surrounding areas.
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