5 Common Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make

haus

My name is Haus and, well, I’m a house. I’ve also been a home to quite a few memorable characters in my time, some of whom I’ll remember more fondly than others. Like that older couple from out of state who lived here in the late 60s and had a plastic Christmas tree. Or the single guy who liked to build things late at night in the garage. My favorite was probably the family who raised triplets until they were teenagers and their refrigerator and I just weren’t big enough anymore. They were a fine bunch.

Anyway, after all these years, I’ve noticed that my owners – especially the first-time homebuyers – tend to make some of the same mistakes over and over. So I’m here to spill the beans so you can avoid a few of the more obvious ones. Here goes:

  1. First, do not skip your home inspection to save money. That’s like riding a motorcycle without a helmet. It is going to come back to haunt you. But people skip home inspections. It never ceases to amaze me. I like to think I’ve aged well, but things break down over time (leave my back porch out of this). Some of them are, ahem, not so visible and could end up costing you big bucks when you have to fix them later. Not to mention building codes change over time and things like my wiring and plumbing may need to be updated just to keep your home safe.
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  3. Don’t assume that home appliances like the hot water heater, A/C, furnace, or the washer and dryer are in tip-top shape. Not that anyone would help you “overlook” the condition of their appliances just to sell a good-looking house like me, but my freshly-Windexed dishwasher hasn’t been that shiny since Knight Rider ended. Hot water heaters and A/C units are easy to forget about since they’re typically out of sight, but replacing them is especially expensive. Try to include a home warranty during negotiations to cover unexpected appliance repair.
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  5. Do your due diligence. Just because I’m aging beautifully, don’t assume the neighborhood is. Research any future plans for development projects in the area. Learn about the local schools, which can have a big impact on my price tag. You may be able to give me a facelift after you move in (thanks in advance), but you can’t change the neighborhood.
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  7. Make sure that all of your utilities are set up to start when you move in. This one’s important – who wants to spend the first night in their new home shivering under a blanket? I mean, treat yourself right. Click here for natural gas service – you can get your heat set up in minutes. It’s also worth asking the previous homeowners for their past energy bills to get a sense of how much energy you’ll be using each month. I’m not as efficient as I used to be, and better for you to know that now.
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  9. Last, but certainly not least: do not get your heart set on a house if you're uncomfortable with anything about it. As much as I’d like for you to fall in love with me at first sight (it’s happened plenty of times…just sayin’), like any lasting relationship, you need to take it slow at the beginning if you want it to work out. (OK, that just got deep.) Humans are amazing at talking themselves into bad decisions once their emotions take over. Just keep a clear head when you’re house-shopping, because a Haus house is a big investment, and making it a home will be a labor of love.

P.S. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or not, be sure to check out SCANA Energy’s new home checklist to make sure your move-in goes better than most of mine.

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