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10 Struggles Every First-Time Homebuyer Understands

So you’ve decided to become a homeowner. Congratulations—you will soon be free of the tyranny of landlords and basking in the glow of property ownership!

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For many people, buying a home can be the furthest thing from easy and you'll probably have to jump through some hoops before you can call yourself a homeowner. First-time homebuyers, especially, will understand these ins and outs of purchasing real estate.

Securing Financing

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Unless you have a large chunk of cash in your savings account or stashed under the mattress, you will probably require financing to purchase a home. People with good credit will not have a problem in this area, but it's still wise to shop around and get the best possible terms.

Negotiating

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Buying a home usually involves a negotiation process. For some people, this is the best part—these people live for bargaining and can negotiate like pros. For others, the idea of negotiating is as appealing as a peanut butter and fish sandwich. But it’s got to be done. Just remember to make your first offer low enough that you have some wiggle room.

Coming Up With the Down Payment

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The amount of the down payment will depend on the price of the home and the terms of your financing. Many home buyers, however, find it challenging to come up with the down payment. Keep in mind however, that the more you are able to put up initially, the easier it will be to pay off the home over time.

Understanding ALL the Costs

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Purchasing a home involves many expenses beyond the down payment and mortgage payments. You also have to set aside funds for property taxes, maintenance and repairs. You should make sure you have a realistic idea of how much your new home is going to cost. Make sure you use a mortgage calculator and consult with your lender during the purchasing process to make sure you understand the costs involved.

Choosing the Right Location

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The block, neighborhood, town or city where a home is located has a lot to do with its value. When you buy a home, you must balance the location's desirability in the context of your budgetary concerns. You also have to consider factors such as convenience if you commute to work, local schools, shopping, crime rates and recreational activities.

Choosing a Style

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Do you want a Victorian style home, an art deco masterpiece or something in a more contemporary style? Perhaps you haven’t given the aesthetic aspect of your home so much as a second thought—you just want a roof over your head! This is, however, something you need to think about while you’re shopping for properties. It's helpful when everyone involved in the buying decision has the same tastes in this area—if you dream of clean lines and monochromatic color schemes and your spouse is picturing vaulted ceilings and antler chandeliers, you might have to compromise on style.

Go Big or Go (Small) Home

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Less space means less cleaning and lower heating/air conditioning bills (most of the time) but more space means more space. You may find yourself consumed with doubt over space issues—will you be needing those three extra rooms? Sure, one could be turned into a home gym or a crafting room, but what will you do with the other two? And, if you go smaller, will you find yourself lacking elbow room in a few years? Knowing how much space you’ll need goes hand-in-hand with knowing how you will be using that space in the future. If you don’t have a psychic on hand to tell you exactly how that will go, you’ll just have to trust your instincts.

Going With Your Passion vs. Logic

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Buying a home for the first time can be an emotional experience. At the same time, you have to be rational about it. You don't, for example, want to overpay for a home just because it appeals to you. It's fine to get excited about your purchase, but make sure you are using the thinking portion of your brain as well.

Ensuring the Home's in Good Condition

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You’re not an electrician, you’re not a plumber, and you’re certainly not a building inspector. Okay, so maybe you are one of those, but you’ll need all three to thoroughly assess the home. This means finding specialists you can trust, making appointments for inspection, and deciding what to do about any hidden problems. Then you get to do some mental gymnastics as you weigh the pros and cons of discovering your dream home is besieged by the world’s worst termite invasion (spoilers: there aren’t many pros).

Meeting Your Neighbors

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So you’ve settled on your home, signed all the papers, and are ready to move in. Just when you thought the hardest part was over, you find yourself in the midst of any number of uncomfortable social situations. Perhaps your next-door neighbor introduces themselves by insisting their property line extends through your garage. Maybe the person down the street has been letting their dog use your front yard as a restroom and is not about to stop just because you’re new there. Every neighborhood has its quirks—you’ll meet great neighbors and make lifelong friends, but chances are you’ll have to deal with some drama when you first arrive in the area.

If you're currently in the process of buying your first home, proceed with caution. You might be tempted to give up on the whole thing and continue renting or living with your parents, but the rewards of becoming a homeowner are within reach. Try to enjoy the process and keep a level head.

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