We all know purchasing your first home is a monumental occasion. But getting to that day isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. House shopping can be stressful enough, and often, people tend to settle because they can’t seem to find what they’re looking for as quickly as they’d like it. These people can sometimes find themselves in a situation that costs them time, effort and a big wad of cash. So how do you know you’re settling? How do first time home buyers know when it’s time to walk away from a seemingly good, even great home?

Not Quite Right
Here’s the scenario: You’ve found a charming little house to buy in an outstanding neighbourhood. But it’s the smallest one on the block, the lot’s tinier, the basement’s not finished and it’s missing a bedroom. This type of house will probably be priced similarly to its comparables in the same neighbourhood, but it’s worth much less due to it’s differences. If you’ve found a house that doesn’t quite keep us with “the Joneses” and you’re concerned about the resell value, this is not the house for you. Generally, the improvements you will need to have done simply to get the house up to snuff for the area, will not be worthwhile in a resale scenario.

The “Fixer Upper”
Also known as the “Handyman’s Special”, and the “Money Pit”, these houses are very popular with flippers and do-it-yourself types of people… And these are the ONLY types of people who should buy a fixer-upper. These types of houses are usually a little overpriced and sometimes they can be hiding major flaws beneath the layers of grime and carpet. If you are looking for this type of real estate, a property inspection is always imperative as is a contractor’s estimate before you close the deal. At a certain point, your charming fixer-upper can turn into a money-sucking entity simply due to lack of forethought and planning at the time of inspection. If the problems are too many (even small problems) they may outweigh the resale value and your desire to live in a construction zone for months, possible even years.

Foundation and Roofing Issues
There is always a debate about whether or not foundation problems can be fixed easily. The answer is: some can and some can’t. Minor foundation issues such as a small amount of settling can cause small cracks in the drywall, which can be fixed for a smaller amount of money and are generally an easy fix. Major settling issues that result in cracks in the basement walls and cement floors or water seepage are sometimes an ugly hidden problem that will require much more effort and cash. Be sure to have the time, money and labor priced out before you agree to purchase. Likewise with any major roof and wall restructuring; chances are, the cost and effort put in will never be returned if you sell the house and may leave you in a rental usint for the duration of the work.

Electrical, Plumbing and Sewer Problems
Notoriously expensive to change and a pain in the butt to live through, major electrical, plumbing and sewer problems may decrease your adoration of a property. Older and newer houses can suffer from wiring that is not “up-to-code” and may need complete overhauls. Likewise with the plumbing; if the pipes are ready to give, you may need a whole new set. These are major expenses and can take a huge chunk out of your savings and take a very long time to complete.
When house shopping with your realtor, here are things to think about before you buy your house:

  • What type of work needs to be done?
  • How much work?
  • What is the cost?
  • Will you recoup your losses in resale?
  • Who will do the work?
  • Will the seller lower the price of the house to cover all ar part of the work that needs to be done?

First time home buyers should trust their gut, decide whether the house is worth their time, money and effort, and remember that there is always another house for sale that will be the perfect fit.

Author's Bio: 

Lilly Gordon is a freelance writer and web publisher and is currently researching Edmonton Real Estate.