10 Tips for New Homeowners

  1. Make Checklists: Buying a home is something many people have dreamt about for their whole life. With so much buildup, it can easily become a very emotional process, which is not always a good thing. Take some of the emotion out of it and think practically — make a list of your need-to-haves or want-to-haves in a new home. Print multiple copies of these lists and bring them to each open house to easily check things off as you go along. This will help you think clearly when considering whether a house will actually meet your needs.
  2. Think Long-Term and Re-Sale Value: Will you be starting a family soon, or taking care of elderly parents down the road? If you plan on reselling the house in a few years, who will be your target buyer? If the home you’re considering doesn’t have great schools or is located off a busy road, these attributes may make it harder to resell in the future to people with children or pets.
  3. Learn the Neighborhood’s Demographics: If you’re looking to rent, do your research on the landlord or rental agency. A slack agency or landlord can quickly turn a great community on a downward spiral. Also, consider the average age of people living there — if there are a lot of young, social people, it may not be the best location for families with kids.
  4. Look Past the Staging: It’s amazing what staging can do for a home, but don’t be fooled! What a house looks like while staged may not always be realistic. For example, staging may include lamps set on nightstands next to a bed for aesthetic purposes, but in reality, there aren’t actually any outlets near the nightstands at all. This little trick leaves the potential buyer thinking of layout possibilities that are not actually possible without using a mess of extension cords or rewiring the walls. When it comes to looking at houses, try to ignore the furniture and instead focus on the structure itself.
  5. Let the Little Things Go: When looking at a home, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the details such as ugly bathroom tile, paint colors, or wallpaper. Try to keep in mind that once you purchase a house, most things can be changed with a little handy work and a few days time. Think big picture for now, and focus on the little things down the road.
  6. Check Out the HOA Contract: Before you commit to a home, it’s important to look into the homeowner’s association. How much lawn maintenance do they require? Are there certain breeds of dogs you can’t have?  Can you rent your property? How much are the annual dues? These are just a few examples of questions that are important to ask before you invest in a new home.
  7. Look at ALL the Expenses: Sure, you may have found a house in a great neighborhood, but what other costs will be associated with living there? Consider how much time and money it’ll cost for you to commute, what the energy bill rates are like, and if it’s location will impact your insurance in the event you have flooding or wind damage. A home itself may be affordable, but finding out it has high additional costs after you buy it will not be a pleasant surprise.
  8. If You Like the View, Buy That Too!: If you’re buying a home because you love the view, make sure you buy the land the view is on. The last thing you’d want it to move onto a lot that backs up to a peaceful wooded area, only to have new houses going up within the year with great vantage points looking straight into your bathroom windows.
  9. Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal with Lawn Care: Taking pride in your property can go a long way! Often times, the first thing people see on your property is your yard. By having a well-maintained lawn, you can instantly enhance its value and improve its curb appeal. If you live in Pittsburgh, make your lawn’s first impression count with professional lawn care services! Custom Turf of Pittsburgh has been creating beautiful, green lawns for their neighbors for 30 years. Visit www.customturfinc.com to learn more.
  10. Listen to All the Old Advice: Have you been getting a lot of comments like “create an emergency fund!”, “save 20% for a down payment”, and “don’t buy more than you can afford” from your parents and their friends? You’ve been hearing it because it’s true! Your best resource is people who have experienced home-buying first hand, so make sure to take all the advice you can get. But remember, try to focus on buying a home that will meet all your family’s needs.

Moving to Pittsburgh? Download our New Homeowner’s Guide to Pittsburgh to learn all the best neighborhoods, shops, restaurants, schools, and so much more! You will become locals in no time and we can’t wait to call you our neighbor!