Before you get swept up in the excitement of looking for your first house in a market where there is enough inventory to give you ample choices, take a minute to remember a few first timer tips.

Check Out the Neighborhood
Drive the neighborhood, and see how many properties are currently for sale. Have your agent look up DOM (or in realtor speak: Days on Market) and how different the current asking price is from what it was at first listed. If the neighborhood is selling at a slow pace, sellers may be willing to negotiate for a lower asking price, or sellers may be willing to pay all closing costs.

Look At The House You’re Buying as the House You’re Selling
A two car garage, new air conditioning units, and landscaping may not be a big deal to you when you’re house hunting, but consider what it will be like if you need to quickly sell the property once you’ve bought in. Always look at the house you’re buying as the future house you’ll be selling.

401(k) As a Down Payment
Many 401(k) policies allow for a loan up to 50% of the account, or up to $50,000. If you’re not in the 22% of first-time home buyers who are gifted their down payment, borrowing from a 401(k) can be an effective strategy. It won’t get you a tax write-off, but you’ll be repaying interest yourself as a lender. The risk is that if you lose your job or switch jobs you have to pay back the down payment loan within 60 days or pay taxes and penalties.

Home Owners’ Associations
If you thought landlords were restrictive, wait until you live under the jurisdiction of a tough HOA. Read the fine print on the scope of the HOA’s power and what they can prevent you from doing, whether that’s repainting your house or building a fence.

Be Sociable, Share!