Buying your first Cedarburg home or Mequon home is a significant life event — right up there with landing your ideal job, getting married, and having children. It’s an endeavor that is filled with elation. Yet many first-time homebuyers, which comprise roughly 35% of buyers in general, bemoan what they didn’t know before moving forward on a property purchase.
Learn from their mistakes with Jaime Lubner Groups’s list of things first-time Wisconsin home buyers wish they’d been told.
Make finances your first priority
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It is all too easy to get completely swept away with photos of a darling bungalow on Instagram, or a gorgeous condo you think might be in your budget on Zillow. Spending hours searching for the perfect home online can offer you clarity on your wishes, but the mortgage calculators don’t always translate into getting pre-approved for a loan. Apply for pre-approval before you genuinely ignite your pursuit so you have confidence and a realistic number with which to work.
Weigh the home’s resale value
Your first Cedarburg home may feel like your forever home but life is famous for the curveballs it throws. In another seven to ten years, you may be offered a position halfway across the country, decide to become a digital native, or choose to have children creating different needs within your home. Before purchasing, be sure to discuss the home’s resale value with your realtor, investigate the neighborhood’s projected future, and gain a clear understanding of the municipality’s offerings and local school district.
Don’t let lust overwhelm reality
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Say you found a beautiful home in your ideal neighborhood — a house so well aligned with your aesthetics and aspirations it appears as if it was built for you. As dazzled as you might be, however, don’t overlook the home’s genuine condition. Part of your due diligence is to perform a home investigation with a licensed home inspector. Ensure you understand every facet of their report, from their concerns about the trees near the sewer line to the age of the electrical system. Without addressing these major renovations in your budget and negotiations, you may find yourself with the real estate equivalent of a used car that looked spectacular on the lot but barely made it home to your garage.
Understand the comps in the area
Few things can deflate the happiness you feel after purchasing a Cedarburg home or Mequon home than realizing a comparable home in the same neighborhood sold for far less. If you work with a first-rate realtor, they will be sure you understand what similar homes are going for so that you can make the most appropriate and fair offer.
Know what lurks beneath those contemporary touches
A boldly-painted accent wall might look eye-catching and chic, but not if a trendy color has been used to mask the mold and mildew beneath it. The same thing applies to beautifully-carpeted floors which, in time, may be suspiciously “soft” in some areas. Be certain you understand that the terrific renovations around the home aren’t concealing something insidious, which can come down to the homeowner’s candor, your realtor’s prowess, and your inspector’s thoroughness.
Grasp the true cost of utilities
If you are moving from a studio or a one-bedroom apartment into a three-bedroom home complete with front and back yards, you may be amazed and horrified by the cost of monthly utilities. Ask the listing agent for a few recent bills so you can work everything from water and heat to AC and WiFi into your expenses.
Visit the neighborhood at different times of day and throughout the week
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Unless you are purchasing a home that requires a plane ride or a long road trip away from your current residence, take the time to ascertain whether the neighborhood fits with your lifestyle (and lives up to your ideals). It would be crushing to learn that your first home, which appeared so serene at that Sunday open house, is surrounded by gridlocked traffic throughout the week, or that nights are filled with neighbors who love a good party. Purchasing a home is a huge decision, and ensuring its surroundings suit you is an enormous part of the choice you make. Get a sense of the community’s overall vibe by strolling the nearby streets, dining at cafes in the area, grocery shopping at the likely location you’d visit and speaking casually with residents. Also be sure you understand its walkability, bike-ability, and proximity to the things you enjoy and essentials such as the nearest hospital.
Prepare for the costs of closing
It isn’t just the down payment you need to account for. Be sure to consider the costs that come with closing. Ask your realtor to be as clear as possible about costs and necessary timeline for cash outlay throughout the process so that your exhilaration isn’t dampened by the unexpected.
HOA fees and restrictions
If you are considering putting in an offer on a home that is part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), make sure you review the entirety of its covenants, costs, and restrictions. Restrictions may prohibit you from building that shed you envisioned or parking your car in the driveway and the fees could push you outside of your financial strategy.
Work with a first-rate real estate agent
Some homebuyers are under the erroneous assumption that not working with a realtor will save them money. However, in Wisconsin, the compensation that will be extended to a Cooperating or Buyers Agent is already established in the listing contract for a seller and noted in the listing. Therefore, it is rare that not working with an agent will save the seller any money and in turn offer an opportunity for a better price for a buyer. More importantly, the benefit a Buyers Agent can provide in terms of guidance and negotiations is priceless.
Jaime Lubner is a testament to this. She and her talented team of real estate professionals have served as guiding lights to countless first-time homebuyers in Southeastern Wisconsin and always steer their clients in the right direction. Whether you are interested in Cedarburg homes for sale or are checking out Mequon homes, call Jaime and her team to guide you through your search and purchase experience.
*Header photo courtesy of Pexels
*Header photo courtesy of Pexels