Is there a "beginner" guide to purchasing a house?

Go with your gut.
If something doesn’t feel right don’t let your heart win.
Listen to the experts you pay for: inspections, before you buy.
Congratulations on looking to purchase your first property. It is a great feeling and a huge accomplishment!
Stay away from HOA. If you are wanting to have chickens make sure your area will allow it.

Does the area flood?

Don't rush into buying the first property you see. Pace yourself and look around. My husband and I found our properties by driving the countryside. Good luck!!
Planning yo buy my first property next year. What advice would you give to first-time home buyers?
Never, ever, EVER look at a house that is over your budget by more than the negotiating wiggle room. And I strongly recommend that you do not max out your mortgage assuming you will get raises and will be able to afford that big bill. Things have a way of not happening the way you planned.
Head straight to the heart and lungs of the house: the major utilities. Look for rust on the water heater or other signs of leaks. When was the last time the furnace was serviced? How old is it? How efficient is it?
Look at the wiring and plumbing that is visible (I head straight to the basement to see these things). Is the wiring ancient or is it Romex? Are the drains galvanized, ABS or PVC? Are the feed lines copper or pex? Any signs of leaks?
Look at the foundation for major cracks.
Look outside around the foundation of the house for signs of moisture, insects and vegetation touching the house. Does the ground slope away from the house all the way around?
Ask for a copy of the Property Condition Disclosure Statement before making any offers.
Look at the appliances and find the manufacturers tag. You can look up age using the SN.
Open the sink cabinets and look for water damage. Look along the roof line for leaking gutters or even if gutters are there.
Is the house on a well and septic or public services? If private, find out when the septic was last pumped out and find out what type it is. When was the well output and water last tested?
I am assuming you will only want to look at houses that you already like by the pictures posted in their online ads. So before falling in love with one and thinking you must have it, look at all these big ticket items first.
I've looked at over 100 houses during my flipping career, have bought 8 and sold 7 of them myself.
Find a good house inspector now. Home inspections are expensive. I don't use them any longer because I'm at the point that I see things they don't.
Find characteristic of what you want in a home. A home with lot of living space or small? Pool? Big yard? Living in rural or suburb? You just have to think.
Write down your absolute most wanted feature.

Hire a good realtor. Someone who will listen to you. If they push you to make an offer on a house you never liked to begin with constantly, stay away from them. These people care more about their commission than their own customer. Make sure they are skillful negotiator especially in tough hot markets.

Another good advise, Pick a house close to a school institution by walking distance. It should also be a coveted school district. Those are homes people would pay more when in the future you want to sell. But that just living in the suburbs.
This was my parent biggest motivator of buying a home we still live in today. It allow me and my brother to walk to school without them for the need to drop me off or pick me up when we were young. But I’m sure times now change with regarding young kids walking alone. 😅
We worked with a buyer's agent. He represented buyers only. That was a big help. And he listened to us. This is what we want. This is what we can afford.

When I was looking at listings and not finding anything, I took off all the "options" (garage, pool, whatever) and just put in what we had to have, which was distance from work and price. Obviously, there were a lot of things that wouldn't work, but we did find exactly what we wanted, which hadn't shown up on any other search.

Consider how handy you are at building/fixing things too. As a friend of mine said, "Your husband could build a garage."

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