5 Things to look for when buying a home

With the first-time home buyer tax credit, many homebuyers are back in the market. The low interest rates, tax credit, and low property values make this the ideal time to buy a home. But with the added number of foreclosures, the homes currently for sale also have a greater range of physical conditions. For the first time home buyer, this process can easily be overwhelming, but these 5 tips should help.

  1. Don't be fooled by pretty wall colors

    Instead, try to envision the house painted white, and focus on the age of appliances, condition of floors, and any signs of mold or structural damage.

  2. Check out the age of the furnace

    An old heating or cooling system can run you thousands if you have to replace it immediately, and should impact the price you're willing to bid on the house.

  3. Are the windows newer or older?

    This is a major plus if they are newer, as it will help you on the heating and cooling bills.

  4. Before you even walk into the house, check out the roof

    Is it caving in? Or is it relatively new? This is a major item that you don't want to pay for once you move in, plus a caving roof could mean water damage.

  5. Check for water damage

    If water is leaking in from outside, then you'll usually see mold alongside the basement walls. Be sure to walk around outside to see what's causing this. It's important to be aware of these issues so you can find out how much repairs are going to cost upfront.

    Regardless of which type of house you end up buying, a good rule of thumb is to focus on structural integrity rather than great dacor and paint colors. A house that has ugly carpet and walls is much easier to fix than a pretty house that has a cracked foundation. Another important asset in buying a home is having the right Realtor.