Learning About Buying

Between the home inspection, construction, and all the other stuff, Brad needs to know a lot from Dave about buying a house.

QUESTION: Brad is on Dave’s plan and is almost debt free. He has his full emergency fund saved up and wants to buy a house in September. He doesn’t know what to look for in terms of house quality, or which neighborhood to buy it, or any of that. Dave thinks this is an excellent series of questions, and there are many people Brad needs to talk to.

ANSWER: If you can avoid catching house fever, I’d start looking and shopping now. Look at different neighborhoods and ask construction workers about quality of construction. An older house isn’t necessarily a better house. But if you’re buying a house that was made in the 1940s or the 1960s, you need to look at the mechanics, heating and air, the electrical system and that kind of thing. That will help you determine what’s out of date and could potentially create a mess for you.

Always before buying a home, get a home inspector to view the home as part of your purchase contract. As far as determining the area you want to buy in, there is no substitute for driving and looking. Don’t just do that during daylight hours. Look on weekends and weeknights, look at traffic patterns, and talk to realtors. Every city has multiple invisible lines. Some streets have homes that are 10% more expensive than homes across the street; it’s just perception. Learn where those invisible lines are. The more information you gather, the more comfortable you’ll be making your decisions.

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