carrhomes3The first time you shop for a new home, it can be overwhelming. Not every home you look at is going to be empty of furniture; in fact, many of them may still be cluttered with the current owner’s belongings to the point that it’s difficult to focus on anything else. As Fairfax area home builders, we at CarrHomes understand that you are facing a massive decision with the many choices of houses for sale in the area. We want your homebuying adventure to be productive and rewarding, so here are some house shopping tips for first time homebuyers.

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7 House Shopping Tips

Establish Must-Haves

There’s a reason the first thing they do on HGTV is put together a wishlist. You’ll find that shopping for your first house will be nearly impossible if you have no idea what you’re looking for. Before you even begin, you need to establish what your must-haves are; what does the house need to have in order for you to consider it? Your must-have list could be as simple as enough storage space or as specific as a spacious unfinished basement. Ultimately, you need to identify the home features you can’t live without before you decide where you’re going to be living.

Establish Must-Have-Nots

On the same note, you should also have a list of must-have-nots, as in those things that you absolutely loathe in homes and couldn’t live with. Some homeowners, for example, may prefer a smaller yard in order to reduce maintenance and wouldn’t consider a home on a large corner lot. Other homeowners may despise electric stoves, preferring a gas range. This list may seem unnecessary with the must-have list, but we think it’s just as important to know what you don’t like as it is to know what you do.

Ignore Cosmetic Distractions

You walk into one of the houses for sale that you’ve decided meets your must-have list, and you’re immediately met by the ugliest color you’ve ever seen. Is that wallpaper? It can be easy to let yourself be influenced by things like paint color and poor decorating skills when shopping for a home, but you need to remember that you’re looking to buy a house, not rent a room. If you don’t like the wallpaper in the dining room or even the tile in the bathroom, those things can be taken out and replaced. You don’t want to pass up your dream home for something that can be easily changed.

Don’t Ignore Red Flags

That being said, you also don’t want to ignore red flags just because you’ve fallen in love with one of the houses for sale on your list. You may love the layout of a home, the room sizes, the paint colors, the flooring materials, the kitchen appliances, and even the neighborhood itself, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore obvious problems with the home. You may regret ignoring that musty smell in the basement the first time you find it flooded with a foot and a half of water. Don’t ignore red flags such as a wet basement, insect infestation, flickering lights, etc.

Look at the Exterior

It can be easy to get absorbed with the interiors of the houses for sale as a first time homebuyer, but it is just as important to give the home’s exterior a good once-over. How does the roof look? Do you notice a significant number of warped, broken, or cracked shingles or other signs of wear? You’ll also want to look at the exterior material, be it siding, stucco, metal, etc., and check for signs of damage. Check the home for a gutter system. Having to install one yourself or replace a rusted-out gutter could end up being a surprise expense. Also be sure to check the foundation of the home. Significant cracking is not a good sign.  

Check Out the Neighborhood

The last tip we have for you is to take a walk around the neighborhood. You might even stop to talk to some friendly folks to get a feel for the people. After all, what’s the point of loving your home if you can’t stand the neighborhood? If you have children, you’ll want to check out the nearby schools, you may choose a neighborhood with a park, or you may look for a neighborhood with a lot of other little kids. On the other hand, if it’s just you and your spouse, you may not want to be in a neighborhood full of screaming children. Look for a neighborhood that seems to complement your lifestyle.

We hope these tips help you feel more prepared for shopping your area for houses for sale. If you’re in the Fairfax area and don’t know where to start, check out the houses we have for sale here at CarrHomes. We are luxury home builders who have been building our tradition of quality home building since 1925. Feel free to get in touch.

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