Buying your first house can be exhilarating but it can also be a challenge. What you don't know can hurt you, so brush up on these home-buying tips and tricks to make the most of your search for the space of your dreams.
Licensed to Sell
Before hiring any real estate agent, ensure they're legally licensed and associated with a reputable real estate broker. Seek out someone with whom you are comfortable, who is interested not strictly in their commission, but in getting you what you want. Your agent should be familiar with the neighbourhoods you're contemplating, because each area has its own idiosyncrasies. Ask for references from other buyers-not sellers-who've employed your prospective real estate agent in the past.
Write a Wish List
Make a list of all the items that absolutely must be part of your home. Figure out where you'll be spending the most of your time, and ensure that those spaces-like a kitchen if you love to cook, or the office if you work from home-are suitable to your needs. Does the home offer coveted elements like a yard, sunroom or garden terrace? Have you always wanted an eat-in kitchen? A wraparound veranda? A bathroom off each bedroom? To maximize your options, decide what's critically important to you versus what you are flexible on, and convey this to your real estate agent early on.
Location, Location, Location
Contemplate the pros and cons of your new home's geographical situation. Is your prospective pad close to all the amenities you desire, like public transport, schools or green spaces? Are the neighbours mainly single young professionals, middle-aged families or retirees? Is it smack in the middle of a commercial centre, an industrial area, or a desirable area of town? If you're looking uniquely for detached, 2-bedroom properties in the city centre, you'll be paying a pretty penny more than if you were looking for semi-detached 3-bedrooms in an up-and-coming neighbourhood.