What You Need to Know About Buying Houses

Updated on July 4, 2019
Dreamworker profile image

Dreamworker has lived in and also sold many types of real estate and alternative living options.

If you are thinking of buying a house, it is important for you to understand the things that are involved in making this type of purchase.

If you don't take the time to do this, you could create many problems for yourself that could be expensive as well as time consuming to undo.

You cannot assume that a newly constructed house will be problem free or that a loan approval from a bank means you'll actually be able to afford the property you wish to purchase.

You also need to understand that although a house may look great on the surface, it can still hide issues you might never know about unless you investigate every aspect of it.

Below are some tips that will help you to avoid trouble and help you to have a good home buying experience.

Specific information that will help home buyers know what to look for when inspecting a property they might want to purchase.
Specific information that will help home buyers know what to look for when inspecting a property they might want to purchase. | Source

Hire a Realtor

It's always a good idea to find a realtor who can help you to buy the type of house you want to have at a price you can afford to pay.

It will cost you a few dollars to do this, but could save you a good deal of money in the long run. A good realtor has the ability to show you what homes are selling for, which can help you to determine if the asking price is within reason.

In many cities you can go to the property assessor's website to see how much the current owner paid for his property and how long he has owned it.

Also, any realtor can take you into similarly priced homes so that you can check their conditions, but your own realtor is much more likely to be honest with you about a home's issues. Not all homes that are similarly priced are worth the same money because some may have had serious upgrades while others may have had few or none.

The seller usually pays realty fees, but you should be aware that their agent works for them, not you. The one you are paying works for you!

Crunch the Numbers

The first thing you should do is to find out how much hose you can afford.

The asking or sales price of a property is just the beginning of what you will have to pay to own it.

If you must borrow money, you need to understand that the amount you'll have to repay can easily triple the base cost of the home due to interest that the bank will charge.

You'll also have to pay for an appraisal, document fees and other initial costs in addition to fees for homeowner's insurance, flood insurance, property taxes, water sewer, electric and gas as well as various amounts of money for items such as lawn care, painting and other maintenance costs.

I've attached a video that explains actual dollar amounts for many of these things, and you can use it as a guide to help you determine your own expenses.

The bottom line is that home ownership is expensive, and you have to make sure that before you buy, you have enough money to manage these costs.

Search in Your Price Range

Once you know what you can afford to spend, make it a point to look at homes whose prices fall into your budget.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can somehow come up with enough money to pay more than you have because doing this is a good way to find yourself dealing with foreclosure proceedings.

If you don't look, you won't be tempted to buy, so stick to your budget if you want to avoid financial problems down the road.

Check Out the Neighborhood

Before you ever step inside a house, you should take a long, hard look at its location. Things to consider are whether the house is located

  • too close to noisy traffic patterns,
  • a reasonable distance from schools, medical facilities and grocery stores,
  • in a neighborhood where some owners clearly are not doing a good job of maintaining their property or
  • too close to neighbors who may have dogs that bark continually.

These things may not seem like they would be big issues but anything that disturbs the quiet enjoyment of your home can become upsetting over tie and cause real issues for you.

Also, if you live to far from schools, medical facilities and shopping you quickly are going to tire of having to drive long distances to get to these places, and you certainly are going to become unhappy with the accompanying gasoline costs!

Do neighbors have dogs you fear may create problems for you?
Do neighbors have dogs you fear may create problems for you? | Source

Investigate Everything!

Building and Grounds

You should always check the building and grounds to see if

  • the roof is in good condition,
  • the grounds have been well-maintained,
  • fences and gates are in good repair,
  • concrete is level and
  • garage doors are working.

Systems

Check to see if the

  • sprinkler systems are in good working order,
  • external electric connections are working and
  • swimming pool pumping and filtering systems are keeping the pool in good condition.

Interior

Pay close attention to the following things inside the house:

Odors

You should always follow the hints your nose gives you when entering a house because doing so will let you know if

  • the house is clean,,
  • there is any mold or mildew,
  • if the owner is a smoker and
  • if animals have been permitted to live inside.

Floors

You should always carefully inspect the floors for

  • water damage,
  • multiple layers of vinyl,
  • cracks in ceramic tile and
  • condition of carpet.

Cabinets, Closets and Counters

You should look for

  • staining,
  • scratches and other types of damage,
  • water damaged surfaces and
  • ease of us

Walls

Look for

  • outdated wallpaper,
  • odd colors,
  • irregularities and
  • smells

Appliances

Check to see if the following appliances are working, are free of rust, residue, odors and also ask how old they are.

  • air conditioning units,
  • hot water heater
  • stove,
  • refrigerator,
  • washer and dryer,
  • dishwasher

Floor Plan

Look for

  • rooms that are spacious and properly placed,
  • kitchens that are located away from bedrooms but close to dining areas and patios and
  • bathrooms that are big enough to be comfortable for daily use.

Buy a House That Meets Your Needs

When buying a home, people should bear in mind that the

  • affordability,
  • condition and
  • location

are every bit as important as the property itself.

If you pay attention to the attached video you'll see perfect examples of why this is true. It will do you know good to purchase a home you fall in love with only to find that your neighbor is selling drugs or the people who live across the street never mow their lawns.

What may seem a small issue can loom large over time and change your dream house into the property from hell.

This is why it’s so important for you to do a thorough inspection and crunch the financial numbers before making a final decision.

Knowing what to look for and keeping a list of those items go a long way towards helping you know if a house is right for you.

Once you buy it, you're going to live in it for a long time, so make sure you do your homework before you buy.

Do you think following the advice in this article will help you to find a house that works for you?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Sondra Rochelle

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