Everyone is sure to have a lot of questions they want answered before purchasing a house. But for those who are first-time home buyers, they might not know what questions to ask. A house is so much more than four walls and a roof over your head. It’s a dream, a place of security and, most importantly, a place of comfort. It’s where we build memories and strengthen family-ties. That’s why buying a house is such an important task. You need to take your time with decision making. Make sure you follow all the steps and ask the right questions.

To help you stay as prepared as possible, we’re talking about the not-so-obvious things one should look out for before buying that house. We spoke to homeowner and Realtor Elizabeth Rieffenberger to hear her insight on homeownership.

Here are five things to know before you buy a house

  1. Scope out the neighborhood

Before you sign on the dotted line, be aware of your home’s surroundings. When you buy a house, you get the whole neighborhood with it.  “You ALWAYS want to look at your future next-door neighbors’ homes and make sure they are well cared for before you move forward on your purchase. We bought our first home in our early 20’s… and I wish I would have known that.” Where your home faces is just as important. “Having a south facing driveway is really nice since it melts all the snow off your driveway, so you don’t have to shovel every time it snows.”

2. Home maintenance 

When you purchase a house, you’re not just getting four bedrooms and two bathrooms. You’re also acquiring the appliances that come with the house.

“Home maintenance is very important when owning a home. I wish I would have had a checklist with all the things to look out for like… when to change your furnace filter, how to winterize, clean gutters, those sorts of things. Since going through my first home purchase I have compiled a list of these items throughout the years and I provide to all of my new clients each year so that they have a valuable resource after buying a home with me.”

3. Stay attentive 

Always be on the lookout for potential problems. It’s better to be proactive compared to reactive while homeowning.

“We have been homeowners for almost 8 years, and each year we learn something different. I don’t think anyone will ever know all the answers to owning a home, however, it is helpful to make sure and do regular maintenance to your home and will save you money in the long run.”

4. Don’t settle

Settling for whatever is available can easily make or break your purchase.

“Make sure you find a home that fits what you are looking for and don’t just settle. When the real estate is sparse like our existing Sioux Falls market, it can get frustrating to find the right home. Trust that the right one will come along as it always does.”

5. Work with your Realtor

“Be in strong communication with your Realtor about what you’re looking for. When the right house comes on the market, be prepared to drop everything and go look as soon as possible… because homes are only lasting hours on the market. The sooner you can get there, the more chances you have of getting a strong offer in the hands of the seller and getting the home. If you find a home that is listed by another Realtor that doesn’t mean that you can’t look at it with your Realtor.  Your Realtor can show you any home on the market, as long as it is listed on the MLS (multiple listing services) an electronic platform used to market homes.”

 Thanks for the advice, Elizabeth. Be sure to follow all the right steps to securing your first home. If you have any questions about purchasing your dream home, reach out to an American Bank & Trust mortgage expert.



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