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First-Time Home Buyer Tip: Go Window Shopping Before You Buy

Purchasing a home is a huge investment, most likely the largest financial decision you will make in your
lifetime. You are nervously optimistic, have followed your Realtors advice and are pre-approved for a home loan, and you have narrowed your home choices down to your top 2-3 favorites.

The price, location, and home upgrades are nearly identical, which is making the home buying decision even tougher. Do you go with the new construction property, the older home with character, or maybe the unassuming house with the fantastic yard? Choosing is difficult, so the below tips are provided to help facilitate a quicker decision.

  1. Drive through the prospective neighborhood in the morning, early afternoon, and in the evening. Each time slot will give a different perspective on how busy the area is, the traffic congestion, and the noise level of the community.
  2. Visit the prospective schools, during school time. There is no better way to see how a school operates then to see organized chaos in action.
  3. Drive to and from work via the property locale during your normal work hours. A 10 mile trip can be a 40 minute drive, one way. Are you ok with a commute or do you consider car time wasted time?
  4. Stop and talk with the neighbors. But, be warned…even good intending neighbors can give the wrong signals so apply your filters as necessary. Listen intently but remember their experiences may not be yours.
  5. Check with your state sex offender registry and your local sex offender site, if available. Protecting your kids should be your top priority so do not leave anything to chance.
  6. Visit www.SpotCrime.com or another online crime source to see the activity in your future neighborhood. Finding out there is high crime in the area should be done prior to moving in, not after.
  7. Take a close(r) look at the surrounding area. Is there a highway, active train tracks, or other distraction close by? Is the distraction something you can live with or will it be too much of an issue?

You want your future love nest to be everything you envision it will be, so take the time to do your homework, ask your Realtor plenty of questions, and always make it a point, at a minimum, to follow the list above.

Most of all, take a deep breath, stay positive during the entire transaction, and enjoy your house hunting experience.

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