A list of things to consider when buying your first home (or any home really): I will speak personally and quite candidly here, as I have to admit these tips are based on my own personal experience..
1. Location, Location, Location:
I always tell my buyers to consider the area first and foremost. The old saying that you can always fix your house, but can’t fix your neighbours still holds true. When I purchased my first house, – it was the ugly duckling on the street by far! (picture below) I slowly put work into the house and yard over the next 4 years. I could not have afforded a fully-renovated house in my area of choice, so I chose the location, and lived in a construction zone (on and off) for years.
2. Don’t pay for someone else’s renovations:
Taking from my first point – the houses that I’m seeing sell for $60-$120k over asking are usually renovated and clean… However, why pay a premium for someone else’s renovations and aesthetic taste? I firmly believe that any homeowner can add value over the years – either utilizing their own skillset or hiring skilled trades (please ask me if you need a referral!)
3. What to look for in a house:
In this market I would work closely with an experienced realtor and home inspector that can tell you the following:
- Is the house solid and straight? (on a good foundation)
- What major expense items are still to be done? (upgrade electrical, plumbing, heating, roof, windows, etc) and know the costs associated with the above.
- Layout: Does the layout work, and what walls could be removed if you desire a more open concept?
- Can we envision ourselves in this space AFTER the gross wallpaper and old neon carpet has been removed and we have new cabinets, countertops, paint and flooring? I believe that looking at a house from this perspective can make all the difference in still getting value in a highly competitive market.
Thanks for reading!