When the time comes for you to buy your first home, so many questions and concerns fill your mind. These top 10 tips for first-time homebuyers can help you through finding the perfect property, making smart upgrades and remodeling decisions, and turning someone else’s old house into your dream future.
1. Scout Your New Home Location Carefully
Real estate purchases really are all about location. While you have to weigh things like square footage, yard size, and budget, picking a home close to work, schools, shopping, and other amenities is essential. You can change almost anything else about the house from exterior painting to landscaping to interior layout. You cannot change its physical setting.
2. Get Your Credit and Finances in Order Early
First-time homebuyers have a lot of financial matters to take care of. You need a high enough credit score to get a great mortgage rate. You cannot have a lot of other debt if you want to borrow enough to not only purchase the property but make some renovations too. Start at least a year in advance to boost your credit score and save up more money for a down payment.
3. Consider Buying a Fixer Upper House
You will pay less for a house with cosmetic issues then you will for a brand-new place or a developer’s flipped property. If you are handy at all or willing to hire outside experts to tackle jobs like interior painting, floor replacement, and appliance installation, a less expensive house may be perfect for you.
4. Leave Room in the Budget for Renovations
No house is going to fulfill all your needs and wants. If possible, borrow enough to make essential renovations so your family can move in comfortably. Even something as simple as kitchen cabinet painting can make a big difference in your enjoyment of your new home.
5. Make a Priority Wants & Needs List
This tip pertains to both before and after you buy a house. Your family may need three bedrooms if you have a lot of kids. You may want a subway tile backsplash. Some things cannot get added after the fact without a huge expense and building permits. However, plenty of things you want can change in the first year after you move in. Most of these have to do with updating the style, choosing new paint colors, and adding accents that suit your personal tastes. Sit down and make a list. Research approximate budgets, how long each project will take, and other requirements to consider. Schedule consultations with professional painters or other service providers to get an idea about what is possible and what you should put off until later.
6. Update Interior Painting First
Interior and exterior painting can do a lot to increase the value of your home. Exterior painting can be completed almost any time while interior painting requires working around your personal belongings. This makes painting the interior of your home before you move in the best time. It also allows you to make it your own and not live with the previous owners color selection for months or even years. On move in day your home is ready for you and just how you want it to look. Schedule a meeting with a professional painting company before you close so they can be ready to start as soon as possible and not delay you moving in.
7. Do Not Try to Do Everything at Once
Unless you do not have to move into the new house right away, avoid tackling all upgrades and remodeling projects at the same time. First of all, you cannot live in a house with all bathrooms and the kitchen out of commission at once. Second, first-time homebuyers need to pay close attention to their budget because they might not understand all the expenses that go along with home ownership. Also, different work crews may not appreciate delays and disruptions caused by others trying to work at the same time.
8. Plan Interior Remodeling Tasks in the Right Order
Should you paint or install new flooring first? Does it make more sense to upgrade the en suite bathroom or the powder room downstairs? Consult with the experts or look for professional help online even if you plan to DIY some of the remodeling tasks. Never undertake a project you do not have the skills for, however. The extra expense will pay off in a much higher quality finished project and increase property value for you. (FYI, do the floors first before you tackle the interior painting jobs. This cuts down on the risk of damage to the walls during the process.)
9. Focus on Upgrades that Add Property Value
The two changes first-time homebuyers can make to their property that add value more than anything else include upgrades to the kitchen and bathrooms. Tackle these rooms first even if you do not have a huge budget. Cabinet painting is a great alternative to replacing everything. Removing pink or avocado green tile in the bath and installing white or another neutral shade makes a big difference. Not only will your property value go up, but you will be able to enjoy these most frequently used rooms in the house so much more.
10. Hire the Right Team to Help
No other tip for first-time homebuyers matters more than this one. Whether you want to hire someone for interior painting services to update the look of the living room and bedrooms or need a complete overhaul of backyard landscaping, you need a professional team with experience, skills, and a track record of satisfying clients. You just invested a lot of money in your first home. The last thing you want to do is trust your investment to people who will not deliver the results you want and need.