(Closed) Tips for first time home buyers?

posted 7 years ago in Home
Post # 4
46592 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Buy the worst house in the best location. You will make the most money by upgrading a lower priced home in a good neighborhood.

Never allow anyone to pressure you into not having an inspection done.

Spend the night near the house before you buy, even if you have to sleep in your car. That’s the only way you will learn what happens in the neighbourhood at night- airport flight paths for instance.

Take pictures – you will get the houses all mixed up and forget which is which.

Make yourself a checklist of the features you want in a home, use a separate copy for each house and make additional notes to help avoid the confusion.


Post # 5
2232 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Homes look so different in person than in photos.I look at houses everyday and even I sometimes have a hard time telling from a photo if a home is worth a viewing. 

Remember that some things can be quick and inexpensive to change (paint) while others will not be. 

Talk to a Realtor 🙂 I am one so of course I would encourage you to do this but really we can give you lots of great information and guide you in the right direction. 

Post # 9
46592 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999


It’s too hard to fall in love with something you can’t afford. If you want to get ideas for decorating, remodelling etc, go to Open Houses on your own.

Post # 10
786 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

My realtor told me something interesting..  When you are looking at a bunch of houses at the same time on the same day, sometimes they do blend together and you forget which is which.  When you are going through a house, try to pick out something unique/different/weird about it.  Your memory will be able to trigger the memory of the house.  So like “the house with the pink bathroom”.  Since that is easier than to remember the things you liked about it.  Also, write notes about the house, the pros and cons right after your done.

A big tip, you have to trust and feel confident with your Realtor.  Our first Realtor didn’t do anything for us and was lazy and we weren’t happy about him.  Our second Realtor I made sure I interviewed a couple people..  Ask about their experience, if they know the neighbourhoods well..  See how fast they respond back to you and see if they are willing to work with you.  Make sure you get along well since you will be spending a lot of time together.  It makes a big difference to work with someone who has your best interests at heart and works hard to find your house.

Location is key for sure.  Think about resale value in the future.  We turned down this newer, pretty house that was in a wrong neighbourhood for us..  It would have been too hard to sell later.  Same with houses on busy roads, it is typically seen as a negative.

If you or your Darling Husband are handymen, try and find a house in a great location that needs work.  That is a great way to make a good profit after when you sell.  Our condo was in original condition, not pretty at all, quite ugly..  We overhauled everything and sold the condo for $110,000 more than we bought it..  (Not including the renovation costs).  We were lucky.

Make a check list of “must haves” and “would nice to have” features.  It will help you when you’re looking.  Make sure you’re not being unrealistic either..  Wanting a hot tub isn’t a must have 😉   Everyone has their preferences to what is important to them.  It will help elimate houses that don’t meet your needs at all.

See the houses in person since it is totally different than what you see in the pictures and the listing.  When your there, look around everywhere..  Look at the neighbourhood, the houses aroundcc..  whats around the house (parks?  busy roads?  a walkway?)  Does it feel safe?  Try and come back to the house at night too, to see what its like and how it feels.  Get a feel for the floor plan, is it functional for you?

Oh, and go back for a second look, maybe even third!  Seeing a house for the first time you typically overlook some things and miss some key items.  Well, you are excited and overwhelmed with looking at everything.  Going back again lets you look at things more objectively, let you pick more things apart, and make it more realistic.  We didn’t do that for our first condo, so we were like “oh, we didn’t realize that the carpet was that bad..” after.  Look at the overall condition of the house and see if the people maintained it well or not.

Ignore the bright green or pink paint colors.  Yes it is distracting if you hate the color schemes they picked out..  But look past the cosmetic and see if there is any big repairs that need to get done.  Get a home inspection done, it is worth a couple hundred bucks for piece of mind.  Its not perfect but gets you an idea of what needs to be replaced or if there is any major structural issues.

I think that’s all for now haha. 🙂  Good luck!  It is fun, but can be frustrating and emotional too.  Don’t jump into things too quickly.. and celebrate when the offer is accepted!

Post # 11
1300 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Location, location, location!  You can flash up a cruddy house in a good area but you can’t shift a good house out of a bad area (hope that made sense!)

Think about how long you’re going to be living in your house.  I know that when Darling Husband was buying his first house seven years ago, we weren’t worried about schools or having kids in the house and he bought accordingly.  Now that we’re TTC if we bought another place we would be looking for a whole other set of features.

Renovation can be a whole lot of fun and may seem like a great idea at the time, but it can also be a LOT of work and suck up copious amounts of time and money.  Seven years later we are still finishing our place.  Having said that, it doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to tart up a house that’s structurally sound but needs a coat of paint.

Do your numbers and don’t overstretch your budget.  Start small and work your way up to a bigger, better place.


Have fun!

Post # 12
197 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We bought our first house in April, and I learned quite a bit thorugh the whole process.  First off the process is long, and there are a lot of things that can be held up and could go wrong (appraisals, inspections, the loan process, etc.).  I tried not getting my hopes up until the day we walked into closing.

Get a home inspection!  You never know what things people hide or do not disclose about their property, and if you don’t and find out later you will be very upset with yourself.

Don’t look at houses that are above your budget, and don’t assume your budget is what you are approved for.  It is very important to sit down with your Fiance and go over the bills you have, will have, and what you can or can’t afford.

Make sure you and Fiance agree on the same things you want in a house or make sure you both know things you are looking for in a house.  You don’t want to start looking and realize you both want completely different homes.

Most importantly, stay positive!  It is a very stressful process, but in the end it is well worth every minute! 

Good luck!  =)

Post # 13
3520 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

The best thing you can do is find a realtor that you like and trust.  Keep in mind also, even if you’re working with a realtor and things aren’t working out, you can always end your relationship with them (do it in writing if you’ve signed something) and find another.


Post # 14
191 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

We bought a home almost exactly a year ago thinking back I learned…

1.  Know your credit score early and if there are any problems fix them.

2.  Get preapproved by your mortgage company because this makes your offer more powerful when you get to that point.  Also don’t be bullied into the first mortgage guy.  Shop around.  They can be kinda rude and pushy but don’t let this sway you.  Same with realtors. 

3.  Bookmark zillow.com awesome site where you can see how long a house is on the market, taxes, other houses sold in the neighborhood etc.

4.  Don’t be afraid to offer low when you put in an offer… this market is very flexible for negotiations.  Just be able to back up your low offer with reasons (e.g. our popcorn ceiling, green carpets, dated decor lol)

5.  Don’t think you have to find a “starter home”.  Being first time buyers we thought we had to buy something small we would grow out of.  We had a great realtor that helped us see in this market we could afford something more.  Our house is 4 bedrooms and something we are going to grow into!

6.  Know what are dealbreakers and what you are willing to be flexible with.

7.  If you get stuck in negotiations don’t be afraid to write a letter to the sellers telling in a heartfelt way why you love their house as well as (gently) explaining why you have offered what you have.  This makes you more human.  Buying a house is a business deal where the seller and the buyer are very separate.  But we had to see that this was not just  concrete and stone, this was a place where the sellers lived for 20 years and had wonderful memories of family and happiness.  Showing them that you are people, acknowledging why their house is just great, and explaining how you plan to have family, happiness, and memories makes everything a little more human.  This was what helped us go under contract and we settled about 3 weeks later!

I hope this all helps!  All in all, it’s a stressful process but it’s a lot of fun and shows how you and your SO work as a team.  Good luck!

Post # 15
2216 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

When Fiance and I were looking for houses, we would do an initial drive by of the house before going to see it with the realtor.  You can tell lot by the outside of the house – is it a good neighborhood, is it on a busy street, is it loud, etc.  We eliminated alot of houses this way.

Also, I wouldn’t settle for a “just ok” house.  The house buying process can be long and emotional, but if you stay patient, you’ll find a house that you’ll absolutely love.

Also, when buying, I would make sure to have some money left over to buy the essentials – lawn mowers, shovels, hedge trimmers, etc.  All that “stuff” adds up fast.   Even an “inexpensive” paint job can add up fast – if it your first time painting, you’ll need to get the basic supplies such as paint brushes, rollers, ladders, painters tape, etc. 

Good luck!

Post # 16
7431 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2009

You need to find a realtor that you click with, and has your best interest at heart. Our realtor was fantastic, and never showed us anything above our budget. She gave me copies of the listings to make notes on (I totally think this is a great idea, helps you keep track when you are looking at 10 houses in one day!) and helped us for 1.5 YEARS and over 100 houses til we found the right one

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