Tips to Simplify Your New Home Purchase

Buying a home is a huge
step. Learning to maintain and improve it is a long series of baby steps,
sometimes painful and sometimes rewarding. 


To help get new homeowners off on the right foot, the editors at The Family Handyman -some of
the sharpest DIY Veterans around-offer their best tips for choosing,
maintaining and improving a home.

These hints include:

1. Scout the neighborhood: Ask questions. When you
are checking out your future home, try going on separate occasions and
different times of the day. Ask neighbors about the area, schools, etc. This
will give you a real indication of what the people and place is really like.
You'll feel more confident with your decision to move in once you have done all
the proper research.

2. Check crime stats: Before buying, get a report of police calls in
the neighborhood. A bargain price may be due to the crime rate in the area.

3. Verify everything: Get the house history and insist on full
written disclosure from the seller about remodeling, repairs, old damage,
leaks, mold, etc. Check with the city or county, and get-in writing-the
property's permit history, zoning, prior uses, homeowners' association
restrictions and anything else you can find out. Forget "location, location,
location" and think "verify, verify, verify!"

4. Get a licensed home inspection: This is extremely
important. Don't let your real estate agent choose the inspector. Hire someone
who works for you without any conflict of interest. Inspect the inspector
before you hire. Ask to see a sample home inspection report. Comprehensive
reports run 20 to 50 pages and include color photos showing defects or concerns.
Also ask about the length of the inspection. A thorough inspection takes a
minimum of three to four hours. You should walk through with the inspector,
you'll learn a lot about your house. You may pay more for a certified
inspector, but in the long run, it's worth it. For a list of certified
inspectors by the American Society of Home Inspectors, visit

5. Get a home warranty: Piece of mind is important. A home warranty can
save you from faulty appliances and you can get the brand new items you need.

6. Make a homeowner's journal: Buy a ring binder and
keep insurance papers, repair receipts and all other paperwork pertaining to
the house in it. Storing all your house information in one handy place makes
life easier for the homeowner and can be a sales "plus" when selling the house

7. Get to know your house before making big changes: Live in your home for 12 to 18 months before undertaking any major
renovations such as additions or knocking down walls. What you initially think
you want may change after you've lived there for a while.

8. Tackle one project at a time: It's important to take
it easy, one project at a time. If you tear right into the porch, kitchen
remodel, and outdoor fence replacement at the same time - you'll have the whole
house and yard torn up at the same time. It might come together, but having
everything going on at once will just add a lot of stress.

9. Check the furnace filter: Look for clues when
it comes to the furnace. This can give you some insight into whether the
previous owner took care of regular maintenance.

10. Don't be afraid to DIY: Ninety percent of a DIY
project is having the guts to try. Worst case-you mess up and then bring in the
professional. Best case-you save money, learn something new and feel a great
sense of accomplishment.

11. Finish projects . . . now: Don't learn to live with
incomplete projects. If you do, the last couple of pieces of trim can linger
for years!

12. Budget for trouble: The worst will happen sooner or later. As long
as you're prepared, it will just be an expense rather than a financial shock.

13. Ask neighbors about pros they trust: If you're looking for
plumbers, electricians or other pros, ask your neighbors. You tend to get decent
advice if you get it from people who live near you.

14. Offer to buy the tools too: You can always use more
tools. If you buy from a couple that's downsizing, you might get a great
deal if you purchase their garden tools, tractors, snow blowers and tools in



Janet & Graham Ford
Phone: (918) 798-4428
4105 S. Rockford Ave
Tulsa, OK 74105