Buying a new home is a more emotional process than a logical one, and it’s easy to fall prey to temptation and let yourself be blinded by showmanship and design. In fact, you’re more likely to commit a major mistake while buying a home, even if you’re normally a smart shopper. A house is the biggest purchase most people will ever make, and you need to make sure you’ve covered all the bases before making a decision.
Let’s say you’ve looked at homes for sale and found the right property for you. The next thing you need to do is to assume that there’s something wrong with it. One common mistake that homeowners make is thinking that everything is all right. A problem or two will always crop up, even if the home was recently constructed. If you don’t do your due diligence, you could end up spending thousands more than you originally bargained for.
Here are a few things to consider when buying a new house. Let’s begin.
1. Check if the house needs work
The first thing you need to do is to check if the house needs additional work. Look beyond the staging and interior design and focus on the details. Most homes require some kind of renovation work; the question now is how much. You also need to assess whether you’re in a position to remodel your home. If you only need to redo one or two rooms, you can do the work in stages to limit disruption.
However, if your home needs major work, you need to consider whether the time and expense are worth it. Get a contractor to look at the property and ask for an estimate before buying the house. This will give you an idea of how much you’ll end up spending. If the asking price plus the cost of the renovations is too much for you, look elsewhere.
2. Test everything
The open house is your opportunity to test the property’s many fixtures so it helps to pretend that you’re already living there. Turn on the taps, flush the toilets, test the lighting, check the water flow in the shower, the list goes on. Focus on the main utility areas such as the kitchen, garage, and basement. You might look silly now but you’ll thank yourself later.
3. Think of updates
Home stagings are designed to help prospective buyers imagine themselves living in the property. A well-staged home often sells faster than an empty property. However, you need to look beyond the art and furniture and think about the updates you’ll need to do to the property to get it up to spec.
When walking around the property, you need to think about how you’re going to use it. A Victorian-era house might look lovely in photographs, but it won’t have the connections and wiring needed for a modern home office. If the doors look a little worse for wear, you might have to replace most or all of them in a few years. If you value your privacy and none of the doors have locks, you’ll need to install new knobs and locks.
4. Ask for the utility bills
Power and water efficiency are often a problem for older houses, so you need to make sure that you won’t end up spending a small fortune on utility bills for the foreseeable future. The best way to check energy use is to ask for a copy of the utility bills from the owners. A year’s worth of bills should give you a picture of how much you’ll end up spending to cool and heat your home.
5. Plan for the future
If you’re buying a house for yourself, you might think that all you need is a single bedroom. But you might get married and have kids in the future, or find yourself in need of a home office for work. Either way, a one-bedroom house won’t give you the space you need. It’s best to think of the future when buying a house.
The bottom line
These are just some things you might want to consider before buying a new house. While what works for some might not work for others, I’ve distilled this list into the essential concerns every prospective homeowner must think about. Taste is subjective, but quality and cost are things that all people are concerned about.