The cost of maintenance

A lot of first-time homeowners are tempted by older, cheaper houses that require more renovation. Fixer-uppers seem like a good idea, but homeowners need to be aware of how much desired renovations can cost. You need to be honest with yourself about how much time, money, and effort you are willing to devote to fixing your house.

You also need to be aware that older houses may require a lot of upkeep even after the initial renovations have taken place. Everything from insulation to utilities can lead to unexpected costs and headache down the road. If you are buying an older house, research what kinds of problems houses from that era experience. Do they get drafty? Do they experience foundational issues or plumbing problems?

Finally, take a good look at the design of the house. Is the basement a flooding risk? Are there any other outside factors that might damage the house? How large is your house? A larger house is going to require more maintenance, even just in terms of keeping it clean.

Your commute

How far is your place of work? How far are the nearest grocery stores, banks, shopping malls, and gas stations? Many first-time homeowners are willing to compromise on their commute, opting to travel further daily rather than buy a more expensive home. But a long commute after a long day at work can take a mental toll, especially if you also have to travel a long way to purchase food, buy clothes, and do business.

Also, a long commute can get expensive. The cost of gas and car repairs adds up. Plus, a long drive can dissuade you from socializing with coworkers and taking on new responsibilities, which can cost you socially and limit your career.

Appeal to future buyers

These days, your first house is rarely your last house. Whether to accommodate a family, take a new job, or move into a nicer neighborhood, you will likely need to sell and move at some point in your life. Ask yourself: how much will your house be worth in ten years? Twenty? Remember that a house purchase is not only a house purchase–it’s also an investment. Try to buy a house that will earn you at least some–if not all–of your money back when you sell.