More tips for buyers from professional REALTORS®

You’ve decided to take the plunge and buy your own home. But buying a home is no easy task. In fact, it’s likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make in your lifetime and there are many things you need to take into consideration, like where you should live, how much you can afford to spend, and when the right time to move is.

These are just some of the questions that buyers need answers to — and truthfully, they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to buying a home. But there’s hope. With the help of a professional REALTOR®, you’ll be able to answer these questions and get a better sense of what the home buying journey looks like for you. A few weeks ago we gave you some great tips. Here are a few more.

What should you look for when viewing a home?

Going through open houses and home viewings can be a lot to take in, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. You’re trying to assess whether this space could be a permanent home for you and your family, looking at layouts, room sizes, the number of bathrooms, etc. While these are all important things to consider, there are also things your REALTOR® will be checking for to make sure you’re getting a full-picture view of the home.

• Look for things specific to your living situation Look for signs of any major damage or things that may be suspect. Things like signs of water damage in the basement, is the basement waterproofed, any visible presence of knob and tube wiring, whether or not windows are functional, strange object placements or signs of something being covered up.

Look for factors specific to you and your needs. If you have kids, how close is the school? If you’re sensitive to noise, how soundproof are the windows and is there a busy street nearby? If you have mobility issues, does the layout of the house allow for accessibility features and is it all on one level?

• Structural faults should always be top of mind “REALTORS® can help point out important items like the condition and age of the roof, evidence of water intrusion, age of the furnace, horizontal cracks, broken seals in windows, slanting in a home that may be structural — items that are typically obvious if you know what to look for. A REALTOR® isn’t a home inspector, but they have experience with homes that you many not, and ways to discover the home’s history.

• The age of big-ticket items can indicate potential costs in the future REALTORS® look at everything at a showing. A well maintained house and yard, with the big ticket items updated by a long-time owner of the home always makes for a great purchase. Windows, roof, furnace, electrical, plumbing and structural integrity are paramount for buyers.

Making a move involves savings, and not everyone who can afford to buy a home has a lot of extra cash to make big updates after they move into their new home. Paint is cheaper and you can make the home your own for very little money doing it yourself, but big ticket items are expensive investments not always doable on a tight budget.

What’s the most important piece of advice?

Your REALTOR® is going to have the best advice for your situation, taking into account your specific circumstances, desires, and budget. However, there are a couple pieces of advice that apply to everyone.

• You’re buying a home, and that should be your top priority A lot of buyers now think of buying an investment rather than a home, and lose sight of what’s important to them to have in a home. But buying a home to live is isn’t solely an investment; that’s just one aspect of it. Shelter is a basic need, so if you plan on spending years living in a property, wouldn’t you rather buy something you love and can see yourself living in, versus buying something you think will appreciate a few percentage points thats appeals to someone else? Bottom line, focus on what’s important to you now, not in some hypothetical future.

• Ask questions and trust the professionals Always work with trusted and experienced professionals. How experienced is your mortgage broker? Your REALTOR®? When you’re ready to buy a home, you should know if you’re working with an agent who has experience in every kind of situation. This is the largest investment of most people’s lives and you should be able to trust the professionals you’re working with.

• Don’t be fooled by outer beauty A REALTOR® can quickly spot the quickly renovated, cosmetic items that a seller may do to flip a home and sell it quickly. These types of renovations can make a house look magazine-worthy, but have zero structural integrity. Expensive items like furnaces that are at the end of their lives are never the most value for your money. Look closely at the finishing of a house, and you’ll quickly spot where corners were cut to save time and money.

Buying a home — whether you’re a first-time buyer, upsizing, or downsizing — is an exciting time, and with the help of a REALTOR® you can feel confident in your purchase.