Record Eagle, Cookie McCullough

Buying your first home can be intimidating. It’s easy to be “rushed” into making a mistake. Unfortunately, these mistakes could cost you for many years to come.

As someone who has helped countless buyers find their first home and save money at the same time, I have some professional advice that will help you make your dream come true.

Buying a home can be a hair raising experience. You will experience a roller coaster of emotions while finding the right home, securing the loan and finally moving in. For most of us, the first time home purchase is the largest investment we’ve ever considered. The emotions of purchasing something so expensive and personal can often cloud our business judgment.

Choose a Home with an Eye Toward Future Needs.

Most home purchasers do little or no research before they invest their nest egg. Doesn’t it make sense to become as completely informed as possible before you buy your first home? Buying a home is a big investment. If you can stretch a little today to buy a home that you can grow in – whether it’s having a child, running a home-based business, or having room to build an addition – do it! In the long run, it will probably be less expensive than moving up to a marginally larger home when the need does arise.

Imagine the Property Vacant

Your furnishings and decorations will be the ones filling this new residence. Don’t be swayed by beautiful furniture – it leaves with the owner.

Evaluate A Homes’ Pluses and Minuses

When evaluating the advantages and drawbacks of a particular property, be sure you know the difference between acceptable and unacceptable problems. Some issues - peeling paint, worn carpeting, ugly wallpaper – are cosmetic and can be easily remedied. In fact, you can use these “problems” during negotiations to lower the asking price. After all, you’ll need money to bring the house up to snuff. Make careful note of what you see that can be used to your advantage.

Don’t let a home’s positive attributes blind you to very real problems. If you do, the chances are good that you’ll end up spending much more money than you ever expected down the line.

Inspect, Inspect, Inspect

Look under every rock! Hire a professional inspector. Don’t overlook anything! Go over the inspection report with a fine tooth comb. Make sure the report was done by a professional. Check to see if there are any Association By-Laws and Association Fees. Don’t take anything for granted . . .inspect everything! When investing your hard earned money be sure and use sound judgment.

Plan For Flexibility

Closing dates are not written in stone. Allow for contingencies and have a back-up plan. If you or the sellers need a little more time to conclude the final arrangements, don’t let these delays upset or frustrate you. These types of circumstances are not uncommon in a real estate transaction.

If It’s Not In Writing, It Doesn’t Exist

All promises and discussions should be in writing. Don’t make any assumptions or believe any assurances. Even the best intentions can be misinterpreted.

Clarify Who Your Agent Represents

Make sure you know who the agent you’re talking to represents. Any agent has a responsibility to be open and honest with you and to let you know who he or she represents – the buyer, the seller or both.

Loyalty Breeds Loyalty

Be open, honest and up front with your agent. Hard feelings and disloyalty will cause headaches, delays or may even keep you from getting into the home you worked so hard to locate. Take the time to select the right agent in the beginning and your first home purchase will be a pleasing and memorable experience.

Don’t forget the purpose of your “Needs” and “Desires” lists. Shopping for a home is emotional. Your heart will cost you money - - using your head will save you money!