Ever go into a grocery store for three things, and walk out with bags full of stuff that wasn’t on your list? We’ve all done it. It’s easy to get distracted, despite knowing exactly what you needed when you began the trip. 

When it comes to buying a Chicago area home, you will face plenty of distractions in the market. A perfect example are the newly-renovated, “flipped” homes that come to market with Instagram-ready interiors. These beauties look like they’re fresh from HGTV; at least, on the surface. Look closer, and you might notice that the roof is due for replacement. Or, that despite all the new outlets in the kitchen, the house only has 100-amp electric service. Or that the basement walls have been painted over thickly, leaving questions about what has been covered up. The devil is in the details!

This doesn’t mean you should completely avoid an updated or renovated home. However, you should avoid being drawn in by bells and whistles that don’t match your priorities. If you need a three-bedroom home in Oak Park, don’t flirt with that cute 2-bedroom renovation in Addison. 

Remember that flooring, interior paint, light fixtures, sinks, faucets, cabinets and countertops can be changed readily. Interior spruce-ups like these can be done in stages. But big-ticket items like roofing, siding, heating and electrical systems are harder to tackle, especially as a first-time home buyer. Unfortunately, some freshly-flipped homes focus on delivering the pretty stuff, and leave the hard work for the buyer. 

Here are 4 basics you should focus on as a first-time home buyer:

  1. Is the home in your desired location?
  2. Does the home have the space and features you need?
  3. Does the home have “good bones?” (Is it in good structural and mechanical condition?)
  4. Can you reasonably afford the home? Not just the purchase, but the long-term ownership?

While you want to be flexible in your Chicago area home search, staying focused on these priorities will help you make the best decisions! 

StartingPoint Realty – helping first-time home buyers since 2004!

StartingPoint Realty proudly serves first-time home buyers throughout the entire Chicago area. Get an introduction to home buying by attending our free home buying seminar! There’s no sales pressure and no obligation. Always feel welcome to contact us for help with your Chicago home buying questions!

Ryan Gable Broker/CEO Starting Point Realty
Phone: 847.348.1154

Email: RyanGable@startingpointrealty.com
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