The golden rule is not to rush into anything. Before you actually buy a house, ask yourself-do you really need it? Believe it or not, it often happens that people regret willingly taking this sort of responsibility. Having a house means being obligated to take care of it on a daily basis - you need to become a capable handy man, because the moment you fix one thing, another one will break.
Besides that, you shouldn't really get into this whole mess if you don't plan on living in that house for a longer period of time. If you're buying a house to live in for about a year, you probably won't even get to pay off your mortgage before you move out. Why would anyone want to do this kind of damage to their savings?
How big does my house need to be?
Another common mistake people make when buying a house is the tendency to buy the biggest house they can find. This is a huge waste of money, because you'll end up with having a lot of unused space where you will store dust. The older you get, the harder it's going to be to maintain it. Even if you're working with a larger amount of money, you shouldn’t purchase something huge (unless you're a millionaire, and you can hire servants - in that case it's ok). The number of rooms in your future home should be corresponding to the number of your family members. An extra room or two isn’t a bad idea at all - you can turn them into guest rooms or, perhaps, a workshop.
Should I get to know my future neighbors?
You should know that your life is going to be a lot easier if you're getting along with your neighbors. First of all, you'll get really bored if you don't make some new friends - you don't want not to speak with anybody for the rest of your life, that's for sure. Regardless of your people skills or socializing affinities, you need to talk to people and see what they think about their neighborhood, which of the nearby schools are any good and - in time - join some of their clubs (reading, fishing, neighborhood patrolâ€¦). Chances are that your children will make new friends around the neighborhood, and meeting those kids' parents is just another way to be a part of your children's lives.
Is the house really that perfect as it seems?
A house could look really good on the outside, but what's on the inside is what really counts. In order to check the actual quality of the house, you should visit it more than once and in different times of the day and use natural lighting for your inspections. Other than that, you should look up some indicators of a possible bad instalment job.
- Electrical installation
Have an honest conversation with your real estate agent (if such a thing is really possible), and ask if there were any serious problems with the house. You could have a huge problem with wiring if it's old and rusty, so you should definitely try and find out when they were installed and if they were in good condition.
It's really important to see if there are any cracked pipes in the house. They are really simple to hide when a house isn’t in use, but no one is stopping you from testing the taps and seeing what happens. Better yet, you should hire an experienced plumber who's capable of detecting a problem, and fixing it if necessary.
If a house has a central heating system, you probably won’t have any problems. But, if it's on you to worry about it, check the house system and see if you can test it. Also, try to find out if there are some other heating options.
What am I paying for?
Don't agree to any price until you do your homework. You need to ask around (perhaps, have a talk with your future neighbors), so you can find out what would be the objective price. Also, don’t avoid haggling - if you haggle, you can lower the price enough to save some money for your vacation. The key is to be prepared before you go to meet with your agent. Also, finding a heating, plumbing or an electric problem directly affects the price, so get ready to play Sherlock.