real estate

5 major must-haves for a fab first home

A history of proper maintenance
5 of 6

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."




Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us

Timely market news and advice for consumers ready to buy, sell or invest in real estate. Delivered weekly.


Holden Lewis

New mortgage disclosures, dude!

Starting Saturday, you'll get easier-to-understand disclosure papers when you apply for a mortgage.  ... Read more

Partner Center

Connect with us