First time home buyers need many tips on buying a new home. It is easy to get distracted by all the wrong things, and miss the entire point. There are four things important to a home: foundation, floor, roof and walls. The rest, while it may be pretty, is very secondary to the structure of the home. It is important to look at the overall quality and craftsmanship of the home, and the overall style, rather than focus on the finishing touches, which are here today and likely to be replaced in five or ten years.

Tip One on Buying a New Home: Home buying is not about interior design

Real estate agents know and often joke about the kinds of things the clients look at when viewing homes. Many home buyers look at the furniture, even though it doesn’t come with the house. Others are concerned with carpets, which will probably need to be replaced, eventually anyway.

Tip Two on Buying a New Home: Don’t sweat the little stuff

Most home builders will replace the bathroom wallpaper if it doesn’t suit you. Even if they don’t, wall paper is cheap and will likely be replaced sooner or later. These things are not important. Now that we’ve talked about what is not important. Let’s get to the important stuff.

Tip Three on Buying a New Home: Tip Three: Look in the basement or crawl space to view the floor joists

If the basement is finished, look at the width between the floor and the basement ceiling when going down stairs to judge the width. It should be at least 10 inches. The floor joists should be at least 2 by 10 and placed 16 to 18 inches on center.

Tip Four on Buying a New Home: Check the attic to see the quality of framing

There are three basic types of attic framing. The most common in new houses is to use standard trusses. These are prebuilt frames for your roof. The second uses rafters, which are hand built on site. If attic will be used as living space, rafters are the only way, except for the third way of attic framing. Gambrel roofs or barn roofs are the third form of attic framing. In this form, the second floor or attic is really only a tiny bit smaller than the downstairs area. Gambrel roofs make for an exciting and large attic space. If the attic of a gambrel roof is unfinished, you are in for a treat. The framing of a gambrel roof is fascinating.

Tip Five on Buying a New Home: Judging the wall framing on an existing home can be tricky

You can judge the thickness of the walls by inspecting the door frames. You can also use a stud finder, which you can buy at a hardware store, to find out the spacing of the studs.

Tip Six on Buying a New Home: Walk the floors

Check for mushy or squeaky flooring, and make sure that there is no give under your feet.

Tip Seven on Buying a New Home: Get an expert opinion

If you are serious about buying the house, have an experienced carpenter look at it with you. You may also want an electrician to have a look. If a home is not wired correctly it can be a fire hazard.

Tip Eight on Buying a New Home: If the home has not been sprayed for termites, have the home inspected and sprayed immediately

It doesn’t take long for termites to find fresh wood.

Tip Nine on Buying a New Home: Consider a 15 year mortgage rather than a 30 year mortgage

Shorter term mortgages save you a lot of money over the course of a loan.

Tip Ten on Buying a New Home: Make sure the room dimensions are sufficient to fit the furniture you want to have in each room

With homes so much smaller than they used to be, make sure that beds fit in the bedroom, and that your dining table will fit in the dining room. Also make sure there is sufficient room for actual cooking in the kitchen. Imagine how it would work if two or three people were in the kitchen at once.

It is easy to get distracted by all the floor coverings, wall coverings, and countertops. Avoid getting caught up in the “shiny stuff” Look for things that are not readily visible, but much more important. Use these tips on buying a new home, in order to make wise decisions.

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