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re you a first-time home buyer? You’ll read lots of advice here and elsewhere about starting early, saving your money, and working on your credit. But what about the actual process of finding and buying a home?

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FHA.com is a privately owned website, is not a government agency, and does not make loans.

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Home Buying Tips

November 26, 2019 - Are you a first-time home buyer? You’ll read lots of advice here and elsewhere about starting early, saving your money, and working on your credit. But what about the actual process of finding and buying a home?

Seasonal Savings?

The concept of a home buying season may not be a familiar one at the start of your first-time home buyer journey. But you will come to know it well. Shopping off-season, especially when the weather is bad, could save you some money but more importantly could eliminate the lazier competition.

House hunting when then season is on, in nice weather and with plenty of three-day weekends to take advantage of will bring more competition and potentially higher prices as a result.

A BIG House Hunting Mistake to Avoid

Any home older than 1978 is assumed to have lead paint issues. If you fail to ask how old the home is, you may find out later than you prefer that lead paint can require abatement as a condition of home loan approval depending on circumstances. 
You may not wish to deal with this issue and may prefer to look for a newer home--the key is to ask early in the process how old a given house is and whether there is any peeling paint or known lead paint hazards.

Judging the Home by Its’ Appearance

This cuts both ways. You can’t tell if a pristine-looking home has mold issues, a leaky roof, or a barely-adequate central air conditioning system just by looking. And some home buyers are foolish enough to take this a step further and refuse to pay for a home inspection to determine once and for all whether such issues may affect you after moving into the home.

These people, believe it or not, are just reckless enough to rely on the FHA appraisal (which is NOT a home INSPECTION) and they often reap the dubious benefits of doing so within a few months to a year after moving in.

But what about a house that looks to be more run down, or has portions of the living space that badly need work? Some house hunters might write off such a property. Others see an opportunity to haggle and negotiate the price down to a more fair level. “Well, we have to totally remodel the kitchen, so we’ll need a price adjustment to compensate for that.”

In short, don’t assume a house that looks worse for the wear is NOT a good deal--sometimes you have to decide how much work is worth that deal.

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