When you overthink the issue of home ownership you might end up scaring yourself out of it. While it's true that a home is probably the most expensive thing you will ever buy, it's not meant to be so scary that you never take advantage of the many wonderful things that can come from owning your own home. All homes have their issues, so read on for a guide to overcome that anxiety and get you in your first home.
You can take precautions against most problems
While Tom Hanks did a good job of scaring people with his disastrous (and hilarious) home-buying debacle "The Money Pit", you don't need to jump to conclusions. You cannot avoid a home with issues; even high-end homes built from scratch have issues. You can, however, take some steps to protect yourself against purchasing your own money pit.
Get it inspected
Some buyers are in such a hurry to grab a bargain that they are willing to take a chance and buy a home without contingencies. Doing so might snag you a deal -- or it might cost you thousands to make the repairs necessary to make livable.
Most lenders require that the home you are considering pass an inspection, but you should schedule one regardless. A thorough inspection of the home's major systems (roof, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, foundation) will reveal potentially expensive issues that you need to know about. You don't necessarily have to turn your back on a home that needs work, but knowledge is essential.
Get title insurance
Part of pre-closing practice is for the title company to perform a title search. This search entails a complete "look back" at every time the home changed hands to ensure that the current owner is indeed the owner. Furthermore, the title needs to free of any encumbrances such as lawsuits or liens. Title insurance is a small price to pay to ensure peace of mind when it comes to any later disputes about this issue.
Get a survey done
If you intend to go by what the real estate listing says you might end up disappointed. Homes have a history and some of that history might include situations where a neighbor built a fence on the property and somehow is now suing you for the rights to use that as his own. Surveys give you some official numbers about where your lot ends and others begin and will also highlight issues like improperly built structures and encroachments.
Talk to your real estate agent to learn more about these and other precautions and make the big move today.