Knowledge is said to open doors. This is literally true when it comes to buying a home. To become a first-time homebuyer, you need to know where and how to begin the homebuying process. First stop should be your bank to see how much money you are qualified to borrow.

Evaluate your families needs and wants for the next five to ten years. Look for a sustainable neighborhood. A sustainable neighbourhood meets your needs, while protecting the environment. Homes in a sustainable neighbourhood are located near shops, schools, recreation, work and other daily destinations. This helps reduce driving costs and lets residents enjoy the health benefits of walking and cycling. Land and services, like roads, are used efficiently. Sustainable neighbourhoods also feature a choice of homes that are affordable.

Before you sign a purchase contract, talk to a real estate lawyer. Standard purchase agreements are designed to keep everybody out of court, but they don’t necessarily contain language that protects the buyer. Ask questions about removal of contingencies and your cancellation rights. Make sure you understand your liability and commitments. Find out if the materials used by the builder contain chemicals that are hazardous to your health. If your contract contains a warning about health issues, it’s probably because it’s a valid concern and other buyers have gone to court over it.

If you are buying a new home in a subdivision you will encounter some type of seller or Realtor. The builder’s sales agents are paid to represent the builder, regardless of what they may tell you. Many will use high pressure tactics to persuade you to sign the contract. Due to the high volume nature of brand new home sales, lots of builder’s agents are paid less than a traditional commission; some earn a salary plus incentives, so turnover is important to their livelihood.

Some home buyers are in existing homes and need to move due to growing size of family or change in circumstances. Consider the costs and your reason for moving. Perhaps an extension would be a better option. What will the new location be like compared to where you are living. Is it worth losing good neighbors?

If the home is finished when you buy it, hire a home inspector to give it a thorough examination. Really. Plenty of stories exist of homeowners who lit their first fire only to discover that the chimney was sealed over, drew a bath that sent a flood of water through the ceiling to the floor below, and so on. And these are just the obvious problems that appear within the warranty period. Other problems, like improperly applied stucco, may only become visible years later, after moisture has accumulated and the stucco starts falling off the walls.

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