Buying your first home is an exciting prospect, but it’s also challenging because of the potential mistakes you might make. Unfamiliarity with the process can lead to overlooked structural issues or confusion over terms in your mortgage plan.
As buying a home is a major financial decision — and one that you don’t plan on doing all the time — you’d want to avoid mistakes that may result in additional expenses in the future. To purchase a home that you won’t regret, you must be more pro-active in the process. Learn what to look for during viewings, questions to ask the agent or seller, and aspects of the property you can use for price negotiations.
What to Look for During Viewings
Viewings provide you the opportunity to inspect the listings you’ve compiled. They give you a comprehensive look into your potential new home’s exteriors and interiors. Use this time to scrutinize the property for any issues that might cause future problems.
- Inspect the lawn and ask about its maintenance. A broken irrigation system, exposed tree roots, patches of yellow or brown grass, and a pest infestation will need professional service, resulting in potential expense.
- Check the walls and ceilings for signs of leaks, mold, and mildew. Also, be on the lookout for odd smells associated with moisture damage. Any of them can worsen over time and result in structural problems for the house.
- Examine the floors, especially when they are made with hardwood. When wooden floors are not maintained properly, they are prone to damage, leading to a costly renovation. Check for moisture damage, raised and recessed parts, and excess wear.
What to Ask the Agent or Seller
It’s essential to have an in-depth conversation with the seller or their agent when looking at a property. In addition to the inspection, ask questions about the house’s history and current condition, past owners, and any information that will help you understand how the property was lived over the years.
Why are you selling?
There are several reasons homeowners sell their properties. They might be moving to another neighborhood or city or needing a smaller or larger home. Sometimes, knowing why they’re selling gives you an idea of what to look for during the inspection and leverage during negotiations.
How long has it been on the market?
When residential properties are on the market for an extended period, it’s often because of the price or current condition. You may use both aspects to negotiate for a lower price; the seller and agent would want to make a sale after all that time.
What is included in the sale?
Most fixtures are included in a sale, but it’s still important to confirm before finalizing the deal. Identify which items, like appliances, furniture, and outdoor structures, are included to avoid getting a surprise on move-in day or once you’ve signed the contract.
How to Negotiate with the Seller
As you study the properties you are eyeing, consider making a list of potential bargain opportunities for each one. Use this as a guide in negotiating with the seller or agent to get a better deal.
- Ask the seller if they are willing to shoulder the closing costs of the property. It works best when the seller is in a hurry to get their property off the market.
- Request the seller for a home warranty for the first year. This will cover the cost of repairs that need to be done for the property.
- Find out if the seller is willing to sell furniture and fixtures not included in the sale. Some sellers agree because this means fewer items to move and more income.
Don’t let unfamiliarity with the process intimidate you when buying your first home. Ask a lot and learn from experienced buyers and agents to get the most out of your first home.