Advice for First-Time Buyers in Oregon

First Time Home Buyers in Oregon

It’s all about the shoes.

I get it. You’ve been watching HGTV, visiting open houses, and maybe even talked with a lender.  You think you are ready to go house hunting, but you’ve forgotten one important thing.  Shoes.  Say no to those Jimmy Choo stilettos and hiking boots that take forever to lace up.  House hunting is hard work and unless you are looking at investor style fixers, shoes will be taken on and off as you enter homes.   Easy slip on and off shoes that are comfortable are essential for your house hunting needs.  See how easy house hunting is?  You thought it was all about finding the right house at the right price.  Pffft.  It’s about the shoes.  Comfortable shoes.

Okay, house hunting has very little to do with a good pair of shoes, but they can make the day easier.  Buying a home isn’t just about the home. It is about neighborhoods as well.  If you aren’t sure where you want to live in Salem take our neighborhood quiz.  Otherwise, here are a few other things you should do in preparation for starting your house hunt.

1) Get preapproved.  You’ve heard the phrase “Champagne taste on a beer budget” right?  Just so you know if you think Cold Duck is rocking champagne, then ignore that phrase.    Often times first time home buyers get so excited about their decision to purchase a home, they forget to start with the basics. You need to know what you can afford. It is never a good idea to look at homes outside of your price range. A $300,000 home always looks nicer than a $150,000 home. Don’t set yourself up to find the “perfect house” that you can’t afford.

2) Prioritize. We all have those ideal lists, those lists that in a perfect world we would find exactly what we are looking for.  Living next to Brad Pitt might be on your must have list, but we do need to be realistic here. Unfortunately, homes are not perfect, unless you can afford to have one custom built to suit your taste. That means compromise. Know what you have to have in a house, and what you want in a house. It might be that you need to have good highway access for a commute to work, or good bike access for a commute to work. Make a list of things that would be “deal breakers” for you and things you can compromise on in a home.

3) Do some research. We have many types of homes including old bungalows, ranch style homes, complete dumps, and new construction to name a few. Spend some time visiting various neighborhoods that are in your price range. Write down what you like and don’t like about those areas. Now some of you might love those lush trees with the private back yard.  If you dislike yard work, buying a house with a lot of trees on the property may not be a good choice for you. If you are sensitive to noise, listen to see if the neighbor has Kujo, they rev their motorcycle for hours on end, or the traffic noise sounds like an interstate.

4) Don’t get hung up on décor. One of the hardest things for new home buyers to do is get past the ugly wall paper, or paint that doesn’t match their taste.  Yes, you might have your eyeballs pop out of your head at the busy floral pattern on the walls, but remember they make wall paper steamers for that very reason.  I get the doll collection that makes you think of Chuckie, the beer can collection stretching from corner to corner, or the wall o’ deer horns, might make you a tad uncomfortable, but walls are easily painted and the seller’s furniture and disturbing “knicks knacks” will be gone. Focus on the size of rooms, natural light, and flow of the floor plan. Remember that you are buying the house and not the furniture.  For some houses, be thankful for that.

5) Do your due diligence. If you spend 3 hours researching the best toaster online, what kind of vacuum to buy, or what is the best kind of sunscreen, please give your six figure home purchase at least a bit more consideration than that. If you cannot afford a home inspection you should strongly reconsider waiting on your home purchase. Homes cost a lot of money to maintain, so make sure you are satisfied with the repair and maintenance requirements of the home you are interested in purchasing.  Remember, you are the landlord with a home purchase.

6) Have representation through the process. There is a lot to think about during your first home purchase. The fact is that you don’t really know what you are doing…yet.   You want to have an agent that is looking out for your best interest. Real estate agents are generally nice people, but that doesn’t mean they are the right agent for you. Knowledge is power.  Pick a good agent.  Since you are on this site, you know where to go from here, right? And no…I don’t mean go out for a nice lunch at the local bistro although you are welcome to do that too.

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