While many people still look at home ownership as a rite of passage, fewer and fewer people are actually buying their homes today. Back in 2004, 69% of Americans owned a house. However, that number is down to 63.4% today. One reason for the drop in ownership is due to the high prices of real estate and the climbing initial costs of buying a house. If you're looking to purchase your first house while keeping the price as low as possible, use these tips to negotiate a lower offer and not get ripped off on your purchase price.
Avoid Unnecessary Features
When you're shopping for your first home, it can be easy to get carried away and look for a house with all the fanciest bells and whistles. However, these frivolous features can hike up the price of your home without actually adding much to your quality of life. A swimming pool can boost your home’s value by up to 7%, for example, but unless you're willing to pay for the maintenance and you actually plan on using your pool, it's probably just going to increase the asking price.
Focus On Efficiency
Not all updates and additions to a home for sale are only there to increase the asking price. Certain appliance and utility upgrades can actually save you money long after you purchase the house. Heating and cooling accounts for more than 50% of the energy used in an average U.S. home, so when you're touring houses, look for homes with energy-efficient heating and cooling. You'll save on your energy bill in the long-run, making these well worth the investment when purchasing the home.
Look Past The Paint
A fresh coat of paint can make an old home look lovely again, and many sellers are well aware of this fact. Homes listed for sale will often be freshly painted as a means of improving the home's appearance and increasing the asking price. Zillow's 2017 Paint Colors Analysis found that homes with blue bathrooms sold for $5,400 more than expected. When touring homes, look beyond the quick and easy fixes like fresh paint and pay attention to major home qualities that could be an issue, like layout or major repairs.
Stick To Your Budget
Before you even contact your local realtor, it's important to keep a budget in mind. Know what you can afford before you start looking, and don't compromise on your budget. Many homes end up selling for well over their asking price after a long series of counter-offers, so even if a home starts out in your budget, it might climb well above that by the time you've closed.
Know Your Local Market
Buying your first home is a complicated and stressful experience, and every area is going to be slightly different when it comes to the local real estate market. Find a realtor you trust to help you navigate the home buying process; while it might be tempting to conduct your searches and tours with the many resources available online, having a trusted real estate agent can help you make the best choices for the area you're searching in.
Buying a house is likely the largest purchase most people will make throughout their lifetime, and it's important to get the best deal possible on your dream home. Use these tips and tricks when you're conducting your house searches to get the best deal possible and save as much money as you can on your first home purchase.