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The Beginner's Guide To Buying A Home

Buying a home — especially your first home — is a BIG commitment. It is a commitment that demands time, finances, and lots of hard work. Homeownership can be a smart move with the proper research and planning. Use these home-buying tips to take control of the home-buying process and get you on your way to owning a piece of the American dream.

Take Stock of Your Lifestyle and Future Goals

When you decide to buy a house for the first time, you should plan on living there for a minimum of ten years. That's the average length of time people stay in their starter home before upgrading to something different. Before making a commitment take a hard look at your finances and be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on both the down payment and closing costs. This is also the time to consider whether you intend to expand your family in the next decade, engage in special interests and how far you want to commute.

The better you understand your current and near-future needs, the greater the odds become that you'll purchase a house that fits your budgetary requirements and is in the perfect neighborhood for you.

It's Best to Spend a Little More and Get the Ideal House

One of the biggest mistakes first-time homeowners make when they buy a house is getting something basic with the idea that they'll improve it over time. After a few years pass, most people find that they never seem to find enough time or money to handle the little DIY improvements or to upgrade appliances. If you're stuck between two houses, go with the one that may cost a little more but that's already set up and furnished with appliances you love.

Unless you have the time and money needed to handle repairs right away, you should also stay away from foreclosures. Banks sell foreclosed homes as is, and most buyers find that the amount of work the building needs is often substantial.

Research the Neighborhood

The house you buy is important, but so is the neighborhood. When buying a house, take some time to ensure that the neighborhood fits your lifestyle. Things to consider include:

  • Walkability
  • Traffic
  • Noise levels
  • The general attitude of the residents
  • If the area has pet restrictions that would impact you
  • Schools
  • How far away medical facilities are located
  • If there are any plans for major developments/changes in the works

The most important thing to remember when you're buying a house is to not rush the process. Take your time, and don't settle for something that you don't love.

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