10 Tips for the First-Time Homebuyer

Buying a home for the first time is a big deal. But be warned: with inexperience and improper planning, it can quickly become a bad deal. To ensure you make the best choices and the right moves, it’s important to do your homework. Think of this as your study guide. In this post, our moving experts here at Stor-It provide a number of professional tips for the two most important stages of the home buying process: buying your home and preparing to move. With these 10 tips, you’ll learn how to make an informed home buying decision and ensure that your ensuing move goes off without a hitch. From hiring a realtor to investing in self-storage, make all the right moves when first-time home buying with this guide from our trusted experts at Stor-It.

Home-Buying Tips

As you begin your search for a new home, you’ll likely be faced with a number of questions. What’s my budget? What should I look for in a new home? How much space do I need? Do I hire a realtor? These questions and more are important to for first-time homebuyers and seasoned property owners. Here at few home buying tips to help you begin.

Hire a Reputable Realtor

If you were wondering whether to hire a realtor to help with your home buying and selling process, the answer is almost always yes, you should hire a realtor (and a reputable one at that). Buying and selling a home is rather complex financial process that is dependent on an ever-changing market. Unless you are proficient in the ins and outs of the real estate market — from the myriad of financing options to the complex contracts that often come with the sale of a home — it’s best to hire someone to simplify the process for you. A reputable realtor will make life easier as you attempt to sell your existing home and buy a new one by communicating directly with prospective buyers and sellers, handling paperwork, and answering any questions you might have. With industry knowledge and experience, your realtor will also be able to find you the best property at the best price.

Don’t Fall in Love With a “Dream Home” Too Quickly

The moment you see your “dream home” for the first time, it can be difficult to think clearly. Suddenly all you can imagine is your new life under that roof, with those floors and that view. However, like true dreams, dream homes can come with a number of impracticalities. For one, a dream home is rarely a budget home. Often times, it’s just not a good investment — no matter how you finance. Your dream home also might be a great building, but it may lack in other important characteristics, like location, size, and amenities offered. Sure, a luxury condo is stylish, but maybe not the best choice your family of four. A historic home is beautiful, but the money you’ll be spending on renovations won’t be so pretty. And yes, that three-car garage is really something — but you only own two. When confronted with your dream home, always think twice. You may just wake up from the dream.

Be Realistic With Your Financing

Financing is one of the biggest factors to consider when buying a new home. You likely won’t be buying the whole thing with a lump sum, so it can be tempting to purchase outside of your means — especially when you don’t do the math. Before jumping to any rash decisions, make a budget and stick to it. Pick a maximum down payment and monthly mortgage you’re willing to pay. Then get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will help you determine exactly what you can pay per month. It will also make you look better in the eyes of home sellers. When saving up for your home’s down payment, a good benchmark to reach is 10 percent of your new home’s cost in your savings account. When you go to purchase your new home, shoot for putting down 20 percent of your home’s value. Having good credit will allow you to earn better rates for your mortgage after you’ve made your down payment.

Learn About the Location

Location, location, location. We’ve all heard it a million times. However, first-time homeowners often neglect to look into this all-important aspect when shopping for their new home. During the home buying process, it’s easy to get caught up in the houses themselves — but as they say: a house is not (just) a home. A home is more than a building. It’s an entire property, in a neighborhood, in a city, in a larger climate. All of these things contribute to the quality of living that comes with living in a given home. To ensure that you pick a home you really love, learn more about the location around it. What’s the neighborhood like? How is the weather? How are the schools? What sites and attractions are nearby? Is there a Homeowner’s Association? Take a visit to your prospective property with these sorts of questions in mind. Answering them will help you determine whether the home you’re visiting is “the one.”

Don’t Forgo an Inspection

Once you’ve found “the one,” there’s still one more step to take care of before sealing the deal. That’s the home inspection. Most homes on the market look good upon second or first glance, but a certified inspection from a professional may reveal structural problems or code violations that could cause major problems for homeowners. Without an inspection and an associated contingency clause, you could find yourself up to your ears in extra costs. Schedule a home inspection to learn exactly what you’re getting yourself into, and be sure to get all of the details from your inspector before closing a deal.

Moving Tips

Once you’ve found the perfect home and made your purchase, it’s time to vacate your current space. Moving homes is a big endeavor, but with the right planning and preparation, it can be accomplished without hassle or headache. Use these tips to make your next move your best move.

Create Several Checklists

There are several steps that must be taken in order to successfully move homes. These steps can be divided into three stages: months before moving, a week or two before moving, and the day of the move itself. During each of these stages, it’s important to take a number of steps to ensure that your move goes off without hitch.

  • Months before moving, contact relevant institutions and notify of them of your change in address. This is also the time to reserve rentals ( and self storage, if necessary) to ensure that you get the time and space you want.
  • A week or two before moving, buy moving boxes and packing supplies, and begin donating the items you don’t need. You’ll also want to start cleaning your space and notifying your neighbors of your move.
  • In the days leading up to your move and on the day of the move itself, it’s time to take care of most of the packing and run any last-minute errands before leaving to your new space.

These are just some of the steps you’ll need to take in each of the three stages of moving. To make sure that you have these steps and more covered, make a list for each stage. A detailed checklist of your long-term, short-term, and day-of moving responsibilities will help you keep everything organized and accounted for so nothing slips through the cracks during your move.

Invest in Proper Packing Supplies

No move is complete without proper packing supplies. At the top of the list are moving boxes, which are essential for holding items during a move. Putting your items into moving boxes will help them stay organized and guarded against damage. Moving boxes are also easy to carry and stack, saving you space, time, and energy during moving and storage. Other packing supplies to invest in include moving tape, bubble wrap (to prevent items from breaking), and markers for labeling boxes. If you’re going to be putting large furniture items into the moving truck or a self-storage unit, invest in a few blankets to cover them and prevent dust, fading, and incidental damage.

Take Your New Home’s Measurements

When moving homes, it’s important to take stock of your new space before going very far with the packing process. This is especially important if you’re downsizing, as your new space may not be able to fit all of your old items. Take thorough measurements of your new home, including the square footage and height of each room, as well as the widths of hallways and stairwells. This will help you get a better idea of where to place your big-ticket items. (Your knowledge will help your movers as well.) Taking accurate measurements early on in the moving process will also help you determine what you need to donate and what you may need to purchase.

Transfer Your Utilities and Forward Your Mail

Moving out means changing a certain subset of your personal information. Before you move, and well before you “settle in,” contact relevant organizations to make sure they are made aware of your new change in address. Start with your utility providers. Two or three weeks before moving, contact your current utility providers to schedule disconnect dates for your utilities. Also, be sure to forward your mail (snail mail, that is) to your new address at the appropriate time so nothing gets sent to the wrong place. Lastly, change your billing address and notify your neighbors to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Hire a Well-Reviewed Moving Company and Consider Self-Storage

When moving, it’s important to take care of your possessions. It’s also important to take care of yourself. To accomplish both with the least amount of hassle, it’s often a good idea to hire help. Start with professional movers. Most homeowners simply don’t have access to a vehicle large enough to handle a full-scale home move. Professional movers come with their own vehicles capable of carrying the contents of an entire home to a new location. However, you’re hiring your movers for more than just the moving truck. Professional movers also handle the heavy lifting for you, saving you time and energy. All you need to do is supervise and your move will be over before you know it.

Self-storage is another investment you should consider making during your move. Oftentimes, you simply won’t have enough space for your old stuff at your new home. Or, maybe you’ll want new stuff to adorn your new space. Whatever the reason, it can be difficult to say goodbye to old belongings, especially those that you may want to use in the future. Self-storage is a great way to hang onto those belongings while keeping your new space free of clutter. When shopping for self-storage near you, be sure to choose a facility with modern storage units, affordable prices, flexible rental contracts, helpful staff, and a wide range of storage unit options to choose from. This will help you get the most out of your self-storage experience.

Get More Moving Tips and Store With Us

Don’t let your home buying and moving journey become a monumental hassle. Become an expert before you begin with the help of our team here at Stor-It. If you want to learn more about moving homes and storing your goods, you’re in the right place. Visit our Storage FAQ and Storage Tips for additional information on moving and storage, or contact our experts directly to have your questions answered. Ready to invest in self-storage for your upcoming move? Visit our Locations page to learn about our many excellent Idaho self-storage facilities near you!

 

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