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First time homebuyers: What to look for to score home gold

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St. Patrick's Day is here, and we're spreading some good luck by helping you find some "home gold" during your home buying search. We spoke with real estate agent Eric Godoy of RE/MAX Premier in Warren, New Jersey, to find what first time buyers should look for in a home, and he offered this advice:

"Commonly the way you know you have a good house is if your big-ticket items are already covered. This way, you don't have to anticipate unwanted expenses." *

So while perusing those online real estate tours for your new home, be on the lookout for these essential items that are home gold.  

So just what are your big-ticket items when buying a house?

Home Gold #1: The top o' the house 

A great find for your new home - a new roof.

Replacing a roof can be one of the most expensive projects for a home. Depending on the size and condition, your roof could end up costing you upwards of $20,000 to repair and/or replace, so if you find a home with a brand-new or recently replaced roof, you've hit the jackpot!

Home Gold #2: A new furnace

A new furnace helps to keep you water for the first years in the home.

New furnaces generally cost between $3,500 and $7,000 to install and are even more expensive when combined with air conditioning. A home with a new furnace means you won't run the risk of losing heat within your first few winters.

Home Gold #3: Hot water heater 

Enjoy a nice, warm bath.

None of us want to be Tony Soprano when it comes to our hot water heaters. If your hot water heater bursts or malfunctions, you won't be able to take a warm shower and could have thousands of dollars in water damage. A new hot water heater gives you peace of mind when moving in, and if you're buying a home from a conscientious homeowner, you might even score an automatic water shut-off valve. (If not, look to install one after closing.)

Home Gold #4: Stainless-Steel Appliances 

Cook up some dinner on your new appliances.

Some sellers leave their old appliances in the home, which you may or may not want. (Green spots in a refrigerator are never good, even on St. Patrick's Day.) However, you know you've struck home gold when you see those homebuying favorite, stainless-steel appliances just ready for you to cook (and host) your first Thanksgiving.

Home Gold #5: Smaller (but no less important) ticket item 

A new refrigerator is just the homeowner showing the next owners some love.

Homeowners who are looking to sell their house quickly usually invest in refreshing the hardwood floors or installing new carpets. You'll probably also luck out with a fresh coat of neutral color paint or perhaps even an updated kitchen or bathroom(s). 

 Your lucky charm – a home inspection report

Obtain a home inspection report before buying.

Prior to closing, a home inspector will examine the major accessible elements of the home. These generally include:

  • the roof
  • interior electrical system
  • interior plumbing system
  • exterior elements
  • built-in kitchen appliances
  • foundation and substructure
  • central heating system
  • and central cooling system.

A home inspector will be able to tell approximately when your roof, furnace, and hot water heater were installed, as well as when the kitchen appliances were added to the home.

The report itself will help you to know when to replace certain appliances and devices in the home, so you can keep ahead of any maintenance and replacement costs starting from move in day.

Knowing what to look for and having a first home essential checklist, can help first time home buyers make a little luck and strike gold during their home purchase journey.


Looking for more home purchase and home selling advice, such as information on closing costs and mortgage rates? Check out our vipTIPS, exclusive to vipHomeLink members. Not a member? Let's fix that with a risk-free, 90-day trial.

Looking for a home in New Jersey? Give Eric a call today to start your home buying journey!

*New homebuyers have different purchase price needs and different desires. While some may be fixer-up geniuses, others don't know where their toolbox is located. (Try your closet under your college sweatshirt.) We asked Eric for recommendations regarding home gold for a"move-in-ready" home rather than a do-it-yourself homebuyer's dream project. 

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