If you’re considering taking a dive in the endless pool of real estate, you should be ecstatic. You’ve reached a point in life that many people dream about and not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy. Buying a first home is a key component of the American Dream, but it doesn’t necessarily come with ease.
If you’re contemplating becoming a homeowner, there are some ideas to be wary of as you step over into the wide world of real estate. For one, this could be the biggest financial decision of your life. It’s imperative that as a buyer you understand how this choice will affect not only your bank account, but possibly your lifestyle.
Part of any successful home buying journey is making sure you’re making an efficient purchase. This means that for every dollar you spend, you’re getting that dollar or more back in value, at least over time. More specifically, this means acquiring a property with adequate and updated home features.
Whether you’re buying as a Native American with an HUD 184 home loan on tribal land or you just landed a new job and are trying to pin down your home-buying investment, you need to take your time. Below is a list of particular areas within a home that should form a roadmap for your buying process. If any of these features are less than top-notch quality, you may want to reassess the situation and consider not buying that particular piece of real estate.
The roof is not only the shelter that will protect you and your property, but it holds a lot of value monetarily. You need it to be in top condition. Some questions to ask the current tenant or agent involved with a certain house:
- When was the roof last serviced or upgraded?
- If there was a full-blown replacement, when was it carried out? Why and how was it carried out? Did you have problems with the initial roof or was it just age?
- Is the material adequate for the climate the property sits within? If it’s a rainy location, is the roof designed for efficient runoff?
Why it should be part of your decision: if your roof fails, there could be issues that go far beyond this specific home feature. You could have insulation problems and mold issues within the drywall of your home. These occurrences can immediately diminish the quality of your living situation and home value. This is a feature that you have every right to be picky about when deciding whether or not to buy a certain home.
You can be picky about the floor, most notably because of comfort and personal preference, but also regarding cost. Flooring, whether it’s wood flooring or carpet or some other material, is critical to the overall complexion of a property. If the flooring is of poor quality or not maintained by the previous resident, you should be unimpressed and refuse to pay top dollar.
Why it should be part of your house buying decision: The flooring of your new home is important aesthetically, functionally and financially. Any feature with that type of significance should up to par in any house you’re considering.
If the foundation of a prospective home is comprised at all, you could be in some serious trouble and should definitely avoid the property. You have too much leverage as a buyer to settle for a house that has any structural issues, especially with the foundation. Some tips to quickly assess foundational stability and condition:
- Look for any leaning walls, as these could hint at a serious defect
- Gauge whether the floors throughout the house appear to be level
- Have a professional analyze the base level of the foundation for any large-scale mold growth or fundamental problems
Why it should be part of your decision: Without a foundation, your house would simply be a pile of rubble. With a foundation in poor condition, at best you have expensive maintenance looming and at worst your house structure and value could be compromised. Be picky about this one because you need to be.
Many buyers first entering the real estate market simply don’t appreciate the leverage they have — assuming they’re in a buyer’s market. After all, the buyer is the one putting the money on the table. Buyers should be able to be picky about many features of a property. While we know that most houses are never going to be picture perfect, if you’re buying one you need to protect your interests. Making sure the above features are in order will help you get there and make a good investment.
Tim Richmond writes for 1st Tribal Lending about Native American Mortgages.