Buying a house is the single most expensive investment you will ever make in your life, and if you are a first time home buyer, it will be imperative that you get the right advice and information you need, in order to make an informed decision to put your money into a true investment and not something that turns out to be a liability. Here are top 5 house buying tips to guide you in the right direction.

1. Find a reputable real estate agent

Nantes - Jardin des Plantes
Werner Kunz via Compfight

In many scenarios, Real Estate Agents do not have the best reputation and are in many cases unfairly regarded as being in a profession of serious disrepute. However, there are incredibly knowledgeable professionals out there who will be able to find you exactly what you need, help you answer all the questions that you have not thought of yet, and help you get the best value for your money. Do your homework, ask around and find out where you can find the best agent in your area.

2. Know your stuff

As first time home buyers, there are going to be many aspects of the purchase of your first home that you may not know and certainly not understand. There are legal processes and documents that need to be completed, and there are ways to fill in these documents that can help you get the very best experience out of the deal. Sit down with somebody who has bought a house in the past, find out what their experience was, do your research on the net, and arm yourself with as much information as possible before you start the ball rolling.

3. Take photos

Agents are extremely good at taking flattering photographs of properties, so much so that when you arrive at something you may have seen online, you could be disappointed as the size and other aspects of the property have been overinflated. If you are planning on visiting a number of properties, the estate agents photos will not be the best reference, and it will be impossible to remember everything. Take photos of everything on your first visit. Take your time and build a data base, so when you are preparing a short list, you will have an excellent idea of what you are looking at.

4. Check everything

Heard of those horror stories about people who have bought a home on pure aesthetics only, to find out that there was only plumbing in half of the house, that the electrical wiring was actually a fire hazard waiting to ignite and that the relevant certificates had been signed under the table with money changing hands? Open every faucet, switch on the stove, start the air conditioning, start running a bath, check the water pressure, the lights – everything. Make sure that everything is working as the owners stipulate it is, and make notes and take photographs of things you are not happy with.

5. Get the home inspected

This is somewhat of a pricey optional extra, but worth every cent if you were planning on buying a house and found out through an independent building or engineer’s inspection that you were about to throw your money into a large black hole. They will check every inch of the home and buildings, and be able to tell you right away if there is rising damp that is being hidden from fresh paint, whether the roof is actually about to cave in and let you know if everything is structurally sound.

Max Wakeman is a freelance writer and independent researcher for for He has a forte for real estate investing and enjoys sharing his insights on various property blogs.

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