Lesson #1: Decide location versus space before searching for a home
Before shopping for a home, it’s important to set your priorities and decide which is more important to you: space or location. If you settle on this in advance, you can make thought-out decisions during the home-buying process and avoid the unsettling feeling of buyer’s remorse.
Lesson #2: Don’t commit before you’re ready
Owning a home is a huge commitment — and a more expensive one than some homebuyers realize. Before buying a home, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into so you can decide if you’re financially and personally ready for such a large commitment. In addition to your monthly mortgage payment, figure out how much you’ll be paying for property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees and other monthly costs of owning a home.
Lesson #3: Sweat equity can save thousands
First-time homebuyers John and Jennifer always knew they wanted to add value to the first home they owned. The couple spent $20,000 remodeling their kitchen, building a new deck and installing a new patio — upgrades that would have cost $50,000 by their estimation if they had hired a contractor to do the job. If you have the skills, the time and the patience to live with dust and debris for a while, do-it-yourself home improvement projects can save you a big chunk of cash.
Before making changes to your property, it’s a good idea to find out your exact property lines. You can’t always rely on the seller’s knowledge of the property, so getting a land survey will clear up any uncertainties you have.
Before buying a home, find out if there are any building plans near your home to avoid surprises after you’ve moved in.