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5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Today’s Decorating Question:

Q.) What are your most helpful “what to look for” tips for first time home buyers?
A.) Since real estate is truly not my expertise, I’m only speaking from personal experience. However, here are 5 pieces of advice I can share with confidence:

1. Buy for location, no matter how great of a deal that house in a “less than ideal” neighborhood seems to be at the time.

We learned this the hard way with our duplex. Although I love the plans we created for the second side, we can’t ever move there because there are too many non-negotiable obstacles – like on-street parking – that we just can’t get beyond.

2. Do NOT get hung up on the ugly carpet, paint colors, or paneling on the walls.

These are cosmetic. Some things, like dirty stained carpet, should be replaced right away. New carpet could also be worked into the sales agreement. If the house is solid and a good buy, those updates can be done over time and with a little extra investment.

{If you’re a seller and you’re getting negative feedback about these things, consider doing a bit of updating. With a small amount up front, you will attract more potential buyers to your home. I realize you probably don’t want to spend another penny on that house, but you could be holding back the sale!}

3.) DO pay attention to the century-old furnace, the crooked floors, and the roof that looks like it could blow off at any moment.

These are expensive fixes and you are not going to like the impact on your wallet!!

4.) Look at the rooms as what they could be.

Yes, that’s called “potential.” It might seem crazy, but you should definitely picture yourself living in each room. Is that king size bed you have going to fit in that tiny master bedroom? What about closet space? Does that living room with all of it’s “character” have too many built-ins, but no place to put the sectional you want so badly? Trust me.. rooms with furniture in them look a whole lot different than big empty spaces!

5.) Consider energy efficiency.

How old are the windows? Do you feel a slight draft coming in around the lock on the front door? Is the exterior wall cold (or extremely hot in the summer) to the touch? A house with good insulation and energy efficient windows/doors will make your wallet happy.

And a bonus:

Old houses sometimes have the WEIRDEST layouts. Pay attention to the way the rooms flow, and make sure that they will fit your lifestyle. That jack-and-jill bathroom may be fine when the kids are little, but do you really want to deal with all the issues that will arise when privacy is a MUST? If you are planning to entertain a lot, consider a house with a large kitchen AND a dining room. Although dining rooms aren’t super trendy at the moment, imagine hosting Thanksgiving for your family around the kitchen island.. or in the breakfast nook. Not so “cute” then, is it?

Happy Designing! -Cherie

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