real estate

5 major must-haves for a fab first home

A history of proper maintenance
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Whether a first home has been properly maintained can have a huge effect on your housing costs in the future, MacDonald says.

MacDonald says there are a few key areas of the home that can give you a general idea of whether the previous homeowner was diligent about home maintenance. If you see these issues, consider looking elsewhere.

  • Rotten trim on the exterior.
  • Dirty air-return ducts or a dirty filter in the HVAC system.
  • A crumbling roof or damaged gutters.

But while a spot check of these features can be a useful guide for narrowing down prospective first homes, a thorough inspection is essential before closing, Shuman says.

"It's pretty important that you have (an inspector) who you really trust -- who you know is going to do a thorough job, who's going to get up on the roof, who's going to run all the water, who's going to look at the electricity," Shuman says. "Do a very in-depth walk-through with them and understand exactly what you're buying."




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