How to Buy a House

Buying a house is a major decision and you have to make sure you get it right because errors can cost you a great deal.

Perhaps you have been staying in rented houses and now think it is time to get your own. Perhaps you want to buy a house as an investment. Perhaps your family is expanding and you want to buy a better house than the one you live in. Or perhaps you are relocating and need to buy a house in a new place.

If you are a first-time homebuyer then you will have many questions to which you require answers. If you have bought a house before, however, you will know from experience about the benefits and pitfalls of buying a new house.

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Decide on a location

You must have a rough idea of where you want to stay and look for houses around that area. This can depend on your place of work, the proximity to schools and other conveniences. Also if you buy in a neighborhood where prices are increasing or there is some new development happening, the price of the house you are looking at may go up, getting you potentially better returns on your investment.

Check out how close it is to the highway if you are going to drive to work or to the metro station if you are going to take a train or metro. How much time will you spend commuting every day? It is also important to check the zoning laws in the area, in case you ever want to build an addition or run a business from home. You should also see that you are going to live in a relatively crime free area with security.

How big a house do you want to buy?

Decide in advance how big you want your house to be. Even if you are single, you may want a bigger house for when you get married and have a family. If you already have a family, you may want bedrooms for everybody, and a guest bedroom, a basement, an entertainment room or den and more.

You should also check how much storage the house has and whether it has enclosed parking or not. If you have a hobby, then perhaps you require a small shed. If you are an avid gardener, you may want to have a large garden. Do you want a swimming pool, or do you want a house with the potential to build a swimming pool? If you are a painter or sculptor, you may want a studio with lots of light and room.

If you make a checklist, it can help in narrowing your search parameters.

Looking for a house

There are various places you can find houses for sale. Among them are:
• Newspaper listings
• Classifieds
• Internet
• Realtors and agents
• Spreading the word among people you know

Once in a while you can get really lucky and find a house which is for sale and you like without going through agents and realtors. This way you can save on commission fees. However, when some agents have houses for sale, they may not charge the buyer fees, so you should check this out.

If you are going through realtors and agents, make sure that the person you are talking to understands you precise requirements and your budget so that you don’t waste time looking at houses which are not within your budget and do not meet your needs.

Often agents have specific listings and you may find other agents who have other houses. Therefore, if you are not satisfied the first time, you should keep looking rather than just compromise.

Buying a house can take up to several weeks or months, so don’t expect it to be over in a jiffy. Also you can negotiate both the agent’s fees and the buying price, particularly if it is a buyer’s market.

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