Tips for First Time Homebuyers


What do you want in a home?

When making your first home purchase, most first time homebuyers have a general idea of the type and size of a house they want, as well as the neighborhood in which they are interested.   If you don't have the type of house in mind, it would be helpful to have a sense of the types of home construction that are available in the market.  Are you interested in a 2 story, wood frame home with 4 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths, and a 2 car attached garage?  Knowing the types of homes available on the market will give you a starting point from which you can begin to narrow the field of possibilities.

Take some time to make a "wish list" of styles of homes to share with your real estate agent. This step will be most helpful to both you and your agent as you begin to narrow the list of homes that will suit your family's interests and needs.

Location, Location, Location

For many first time homebuyers, the location of the home is their most important consideration; for many others, location may not be of great importance.  You probably know already whether you will be shopping for a home in an urban, suburban, or rural setting.  You may already know exactly what neighborhood you want to live in.  All of these "location" considerations will be helpful to you in narrowing your new home buying decision.

Choosing a Neighborhood

When buying a home give some thought to the community in which your want to live. This is a big lifestyle decision.  Many people choose their neighborhood and community based on the quality of schools. Is access to shopping and public transportation of great importance to you?  What about access to the public library or arts and entertainment venues?   Are you the kind of person that won't be happy unless you have a little land with their home?  If so, this factor will likely direct you and your real estate agent to neighborhoods and communities that will be of interest. 

When you find a neighborhood/community that you like, talk to people that live there. Talk to them about schools and shopping, as well as places of worship and other factors that are of importance to you and your family. When you purchase a home, you're buying more than a roof and 4 walls. Your prospective neighbors know the most about the area and can provide some valuable insight. More than anything, you want a neighborhood where you feel comfortable and having conversations with prospective neighbors prior to making an offer on a new home will give you a pretty good sense of the neighborhood in which you're about to move into.

New Construction vs. an Older home 

It's not always the case, but many first time homebuyers purchase an already existing home.  However, you may have your heart set on moving into a new home.  Whatever your preference, making this decision upfront will be just one more step in narrowing the field of home choices.

Some of the advantages that come with a new home are that newer homes tend to have more highly efficient heating and cooling systems.  This feature is not only good for our environment, but also good on your pocketbook by holding down the cost with your utility bills. New homes often are clustered together with the same size and style homes in the same price range, so if you are concerned about your home looking like all the other homes in the neighborhood, you may want to consider an older home. 

Older homes come in all sizes and personalities.  However, depending on its age, an older home may require a bit of an investment to bring up to your liking.  Often times, the kitchens and baths are the first items on the list for investments in renovations. If you enjoy working with your hands and seeing the results of your hard labor, maybe a "fixer-upper" is in your future.   Not only do you have the opportunity to make the improvements that you desire, but often a fixer-upper is the type of home that can be purchased at an attractive price.

Size Requirements

When buying a home, there are many important considerations such as:

  • Is the number and size of rooms right for your needs?
  • Will the rooms accommodate your furniture?
  • Is the house large enough for your family size, both today and in the next 3 -5 years? 
  • Is the size of the lot what you want?
  • Is space for a yard, garden, or off-street parking important to you?

Special Features 

You should also consider whether there are any particularly important special requirements such as:

  • Do you need space for the kids to play out of the major traffic areas of the home?
  • Do you need extra space for laundry? 
  • Is an attached garage necessary?  Two cars or three?
  • A second bathroom?
  • A porch? 
  • Wheelchair accessibility? 
  • Other?

There are a lot of considerations that go into purchasing a home and even more to think about when purchasing your first home.  Take your time, ask good questions and rely on your real estate agent to guide you through the process.  Christine Mastis has many years of experience in helping first time homebuyers work through the maze of questions to ultimately find the right home for you and your family.

Contact Us to help you in making that first home purchase one that you will be happy with for many years to come.