First time buying a home?


Buying your first home can be exciting, scary, and overwhelming. So many things to sign. So many services to pay for. And add to that the fact you have never owned a home and have no idea how it works or what you have to do to maintain it. As a first time home buyer it is critical that you hire an inspector that will take the time to explain how the various components of a house work, and takes time to make you feel comfortable about home ownership.

When the inspection is complete, you should know:

How to turn the water off in the house

How to turn off the electric in the house

How to reset a tripped GFCI receptacle (and why they are important). You know, those funky "outlets" in the bathroom and kitchen with the buttons that have to be pushed from time to time. You should also have an idea of what other receptacles may be controlled by that one. 

How to operate your heating and cooling system and what type of fuel it uses. 

How to operate the damper in a fireplace. What is that thing anyway?

How to access the crawlspace and what components are in there.

How to access the attic and what components in there. 

How to operate tilting windows and windows with the little buttons that prevent them opening very far. Don't laugh, it happens. 

How to start a fire with steel wool and a nine volt battery. Okay, not really needed information. Just making sure you are paying attention. 

Which light switches control what lights, or receptacles. Hint: if there are no ceiling lights, chances are that a receptacle is connected to a switch.

You should also gain some knowledge regarding maintenance. Parts of the home, if not maintained will become a repair down the road. 

As a bonus, first time home buyers receive a copy of the "Now that you have had a home inspection" book. This book is a wealth of information about how homes work as well as help and hints on maintaining it. Make sure you ask for one. 

There is much to learn about owning a home. Starting with the right home inspection, the right inspector and some great basic knowledge will set you off on the right path. 

Consider attending a class for first time home buyers. These are generally free, depending on who is hosting them, and can be an invaluable source for the process of buying a home. While a requirement for some subsidized loans such as the VHDA in Virginia, they are normally open to anyone wishing to attend.