Making that first home a wise choice

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Buying your first home. It’s not like buying your first car. With a car you can test drive it, read reviews about it, see if your biggest piece of luggage can fit into the trunk, and look up gas mileage averages.

“Deciding to buy your first home is a little scary,” says Realtor’s Angela Colley. “Looking for a home is anxiety-inducing. But actually making an offer? That’s a whole different level of panic. Are you choosing the right one? What if you buy this home and the perfect place comes on the market a week later? What if you end up hating the place in a year?”

She adds that there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for first choosing your home. But there are a few ways experts can help you avoid the biggest mistakes — because some homes just aren’t right for the average first-time buyer.

Words like “cozy,” “efficient” and “practical” in a listing won’t matter when your life changes as you live inside a house. Conley says that while you may not have or are planning to have children (or hosting a parent) when you buy your first house, those plans could change in the next five to 10 years, and that tiny two-bedroom historic bungalow you’ve been eyeing may fail you. She goes on to say that if you are recently married and plan to start a family, a two-bedroom home is not the ticket. “Unless you bunk the kids together, you will be moving once the second child comes along,” says Pennsylvania-based agent Seth Lejeune. “Three is generally a good average. If you end up staying there longer than expected, you can start a family and still be comfortable.”

Too big is not wise either. You may not need five bedrooms for years and you’ll be paying for them in the meantime. “There’s almost nothing worse than buying more house than you need and having a reminder come in the mail every month as you scrounge to make payments,” Lejeune says.

A fixer-upper? Be careful how much rehab you take on. “If the home needs one or two biggish projects and a handful of small weekend jobs to get into perfect condition, you might come out ahead,” says Conley. “But if you can spot a dozen problem areas now, you may end up going broke trying to repair that place.” She suggests that if fixer-uppers are your “thing,” opt for one with an end in sight —like just a kitchen remodel plus a bit of bathroom updating.

Huge front lawns, pools and spas, a huge vegetable garden that needs tending — all are features that might look great now, but do you really want to spend every weekend maintaining your home? It’s your call.

Looking at your first home as mere investment potential is not a good idea either. “In an ideal world, you’ll live in your first home for a while, maybe make a few improvements, and sell it for a profit later so you can upgrade to an even more awesome pad,” says Conley. “Your tireless home improvements may not mean much to the next buyer. And sometimes that home simply isn’t going to go up in price, no matter what improvements you make.”

Lejeune agrees: “If you make a row home in the worst part of the city into the Taj Mahal, you’re never gonna get that money back.” Conley suggests that if your only reason for making an offer is based on profit after you sell, consider the market very, very carefully before you make the plunge. And don’t forget that the market can change while you’re making plans.

Experts agree that first-time homebuyers are wise to choose a locale with a strong school district and a fiscally sound municipality, even if children are not a consideration. Value is always in the eye of the future buyer.

Realtor, TBWS


All information furnished has been forwarded to you and is provided by thetbwsgroup only for informational purposes. Forecasting shall be considered as events which may be expected but not guaranteed. Neither the forwarding party and/or company nor thetbwsgroup assume any responsibility to any person who relies on information or forecasting contained in this report and disclaims all liability in respect to decisions or actions, or lack thereof based on any or all of the contents of this report.

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Brian Voytko

Mortgage Advisor

NMLS: #437292

The Mortgage Whiz

Company NMLS: 338923

Cell: 215-407-3832

Email: BVoytko@PRMG.net

Web: http://www.mtgwhiz.com

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Brian Voytko

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Mortgage Advisor

NMLS: #437292

Cell: 215-407-3832


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