Heritage Homes: A List of Dos and Don'ts for First-Time Buyers
Buying your first home can be thrilling, frustrating, scary, and many other things for each buyer. If you have your eyes set on buying a heritage home there are even more factors to learn and keep in mind while you're touring these charming old residences. Below you'll find some dos and don'ts to consider if you're interested in taking on a Denver heritage home.
- Do get a Denver REALTOR® you trust who has a good knowledge base of heritage homes and/or has a network of contacts who know the history of historic residences in the area. Maybe your potential Denver heritage home was the residence of someone famous, like the house of Titanic survivor, Molly Brown in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. You won't know unless you ask and your agent is knowledgable! From a more practical standpoint, an experienced REALTOR® can see superficial, yet costly, flaws that older homes may have, and can alert you to that before you even seek the advice of an inspector.
- Don't get too excited about the first home you see. If you really love a house, that's fantastic and you should move on to the next step. However, there are a few hoops to jump through before you'll be able to get your heritage house and an inspection is one of them. A lot of the time the inspection can reveal some dirty little secrets about the house you formerly thought was perfect, which brings us to the next point in the list.
- Do get a home inspection. Always. Buyers who forego this step in the purchase process can pay dearly for it. If your home's foundation is faulty, the roof is in dire need of repair, or your furnace is about to die, you won't find out about it until it's too late. In some cases where oil furnaces, mold, or poor insulation is concerned, not getting an inspection can even pose risks to your health and safety.
- Don't compromise on your needs. If you really want a backyard in which to garden, or a garage to tinker in, you should have that even if it means making a concession on your budget. Of course, that's not to say that you should buy outside your means, but it does mean taking a good look at what you can reasonably afford and remembering that you will not be happy if your needs are not met adequately.
- Do bring a notepad or your mobile device with you to take notes on your tours of things you like and things you don't like. This may seem like overkill, but if you are touring many homes, you'll need the mental cues. Your agent will be thankful, too, because notes will make it easier for her/him to understand what you're looking for in a house. You might even find that, because you're forced to jot some things down, you get a clearer idea of your own intentions.
- Don't expect perfection for your first home. Heritage homes in Denver are quirky, and that's what makes them so wonderful. Maybe your kitchen has a strange layout, or the bedroom has no ensuite. As a first-time buyer, it's likely you'll have to put some elbow grease into your home. If squeaky wood floors aren't your thing and you can't change your lifestyle a bit to accomodate an old-fashioned floorplan, heritage home ownership may not be for you. On the other hand, it's amazing what renovations can do. If you're handy and responsible with your cash, save up to make some changes.
Above all, when you're buying your first home, whether it's a heritage home or a newly built house, keep the faith. Sometimes the perfect house is the first one you look at and other times it can take months to find one that really fits you. This is a case of finding a house you can truly be happy with, so if you have to move out of your current home, it can definitely be worthwhile to rent while you're looking. If milestones like marriage, children, and retirement are any indication, the best things in life are worth waiting for; home ownership is no exception. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt and you'll enjoy your home.
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