Dandeneau Team Real Estate's Blog
Are you thinking about buying your first home but completely overwhelmed with where to even begin?
Buying your first home is a big, and exciting, decision. It’s also one that comes with a big learning curve you need to get down quickly.
There are many steps to the process and even though your agent is always here to help you and give advice it’s critical you do your own research. You want to be able to take action quickly when you find your dream home. To do this you will need to be able to keep up with the process by having everything done neatly, orderly and on time.
So where to start?
Start by sitting down with your budget. What do your current finances look like? What sort of wiggle room for spending do you have? What can you afford for a monthly mortgage payment?
And perhaps more importantly, do you have enough saved to cover a down payment and closing costs? Depending on which programs you qualify for you don’t necessarily have to put the traditional 20% down. With that said, you should know how much you would need to put down and if you have money in the bank to cover those costs.
Smooth out any credit snags. Your credit score doesn’t need to be out of this world, but it should reflect that you are actively improving and financially responsible.
Find a mortgage professional you trust to help you make the right moves throughout the process. Again, you want to be able to take action quickly once you find a home you love. And you don’t want to miss out because your mortgage professional hasn’t prioritized you.
You will also want to have a preapproval prepared, with the help of your mortgage professional, when you are ready to start looking at houses. Having a pre-approval in hand shows your agent that you are serious about this process.
Calculate the costs. Yes, more math! You will want to take into consideration real estate taxes, HOA fees, home repairs and maintenance as you refine your budget to see which homes make the most sense for your lifestyle.
When looking at homes focus on the “bones” of the house. Look past paint, hideous wallpaper and yes even the granite countertops. Are there enough bedrooms? Bathrooms? A laundry room? Is there enough garage space and driveway? Do you like the floor plan? The neighborhood?
Know what’s important to you. In an ideal world, you will find a home that ticks off every item on your wishlist. And not to say that it’s entirely impossible, but know which items on your list are negotiable. Which are you willing to budge on and which are make or break?
Depending on its condition, a basement can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, basements can provide an abundance of storage space to help keep your home organized. On the other hand, basements can be plagued with water leaks, excess moisture, and mold growth.
Some solutions to wet basement problems can be expensive, such as installing French drains, perimeter trenches, or exterior waterproof membranes. If you're considering buying a house that may have basement moisture problems or water damage, a good home inspector can identify these issues beforehand and let you know how serious they are.
Moisture Control Tips
Relatively simple solutions to wet basement problems include buying a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier extracts excess water from the air and can help prevent mold growth and moisture damage to your belongings. Ideally, a home basement should be a place where you can safely store everything from clothing and holiday supplies to tools and family heirlooms. A humidity meter, also called a hygrometer, can be a good way to keep track of relative humidity (RH) in your basement. Whether you'd want to buy a cheap one or a more costly model depends on the value of the items you want to protect.
The EPA's Energy Star program recommends maintaining a humidity range in your home of between 30% and 50% to prevent bacterial and mold growth. (For homeowners living in colder climates, it may be necessary to keep the RH level below 40% to prevent window condensation.) Note: If you're storing moisture-sensitive items like wooden musical instruments, important documents, or cigars, it's vital to carefully monitor humidity levels and follow all recommendations for optimal care and preservation. (Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary to keep track of other climate control factors, such as room temperature, dust, and air quality.)
What to Do About Clutter
Another common basement problem that often develops after homeowners have lived in the house for several years is clutter and disorganization. The ideal scenario is to set up an organization system in the basement immediately after moving into a house. In the real world, however, many people tend to postpone unpacking moving boxes and allow clutter to accumulate over a period of years.
The solution may consist of buying shelving units for the basement, setting aside and organizing things you want to keep, and dispensing with items that no longer serve your needs. Options for getting rid of unwanted stuff may include holding a garage sale, donating old belongings to charitable organizations, giving them away to friends and relatives, or paying a junk removal service to haul them away.
Although keeping your basement dry, organized, and clutter free is an ongoing task, the benefits almost always outweigh the short-term inconvenience.