Take Your Time
Never choose the first house you see. If you love the first house you see, make sure to see a few more to make sure that is the right house for you.
When you do find the right home, go back as many times as you can. Go during every time of day. Morning, noon, night, weekends. You want to make sure the neighborhood is what you think it is. Talk to the neighbors if you can, they will give you the best feel for the area.
Beware of Fresh Paint and Remodeling
Some people will try to cover up serious problems in the house with fresh paint and remodeling.
Leaky pipes, bad roofs, and moving foundations can be covered up with remodeling and fresh paint.
Not only that, but sometimes people will take out liens against the house to get remodeling done.
This means that when you buy the house, you could be buying debt with it as well. You could find yourself responsible for this debt. If you are getting a mortgage, they will probably check for the liens themselves. If you are paying in cash, or if it is a fast sale you run an extra risk of getting caught owing this debt.
That is why a newly remodeled home may not be as good a deal as it may appear.
Cheap decorations and landscaping may make the house look great when you buy it. These cheap fixes lose their value fast, and you will be left with whatever problems those decorations were covering up.
Someone can paint cupboards, for example, just to have it bubble up a month later.
Quick cover-ups sell, but you should avoid buying them.
Old Houses Are Less Risky than New Houses
There was a multi-million dollar condominium built in downtown Denver. The condominiums were gorgeous, and in a prime location. They easily sold for millions of dollars, and everyone who bought one quickly settled in for their rock star lifestyle.
The problem is the builder had sold million dollar condominiums, and built the building as cheap as he could. He then pocketed the difference.
The walls started falling apart, and the pipes were coming undone. Most of the units have sincegone into foreclosure. I imagine these units are still living nightmares for those who bought in, and have not found a way out yet.
Everything looks good new. The difference between expensive building materials, and cheap building materials, is that expensive building materials stand the test of time.
For some reason some people think that buying a new home means that it is less prone to problems, than an existing home.
This is far from true. Older homes have settled into their foundations. If something is wrong with the bones of the building, it becomes obvious fast in an older home.
Buying a New Home
With new homes, buyers have surprisingly few rights when dealing with builders. Therefore, if you do buy a new home, you will need to hire a lawyer to look over the contract.
I have heard of people buying new builds to be delivered in April. The house is not even close to ready in May, and the buyers must continue to pay every month despite the home not being finished.
The builder loses their financing, and still cannot finish the home. The buyers must still pay, because that is what the contract said.
You must have a lawyer look over the contract, and make sure you do not get into a one sided contract. If you do not, be prepared to pay for unfinished homes.