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Deciding to buy your first home is a little scary. Looking for a home is anxiety-inducing. But actually making an offer? That's a whole different level of panic. Are you choosing the right one? What if you buy this home and the perfect place comes on the market a week later? What if you end up hating the place in a year?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula for first homes. (If there were, we’d tell you.) And no, we can't totally destress the process (buying a house is a big deal, after all). But we can help you avoid the biggest mistakes. And, as it turns out, some homes just aren’t right for the average first-time buyer. Go ahead and take a look.

1. The one that's a little too ‘cozy'
You may not have children when you buy your first house. You may not even be planning on children. But those plans could change in the next five to 10 years, and that tiny two-bedroom historic bungalow you’ve been eyeing may go from just right to clown-car small.

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A new home means a fresh start: new paint, a new bedroom, even a fresh take on arranging your old furniture.

But your new space won't feel so wonderful if it's weighed down with junk you didn't bother ditching during the move. Now's the time to purge your home—and we're not talking about just sifting through stacks of magazines while you binge on Netflix.

"Your possessions should have three purposes: function, aesthetic purpose, or sentimental value," says Christina Giaquinto, a professional organizer in Franklin Lakes, NJ. "Pick up each item in your home, and ask yourself, 'Why do I have this item? What does this item do for me?'"
From doodads you picked up at the flea market to jewelry you never wear to a pile of untouched cat toys, there are a lot of things you should toss or donate before packing up the truck. But here are nine of the most common offenders.

1. Old towels and linens
When's the last time you bought new towels? If it's the last time you moved, turn those suckers into rags and buy something new. After years of use and hundreds of washings, there's no denying your fluffy bath towels have lost some of their plushness.

Ditch old bed sheets, too. Fitted sheets lose their elasticity over time, and exposure to sweat and oil can cause unpleasant stains.

2. Your juicer
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For years, all home buyers have heard is that prices are going up, up, and away. But the cost of buying a newly constructed abode has fallen to its lowest price point of the last 12 months. So if you've been wanting to buy a home that's never been touched by another owner, we give you permission do a happy dance.

The median price of a new home dropped nearly 6.9% from March to April to reach $312,400, according to a joint report by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That was only up 0.4% from April 2017, less than inflation.

"This could be a sign that builders are trying to build at lower price points," says realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. That would be a boon to the many would-be homeowners, particularly first-time buyers or those on a tight budget, who are being priced out of the market. "The largest share of home buyers and home shoppers in the market are looking to buy entry-level homes."

Hale pointed out that 5% of new-home sales were for abodes priced under $150,000. That may not sound like much, but it's the largest share we've seen at that super-desirable price point since August 2016.

However, new homes were still about 24.8% more expensive than the $250,400 median cost of an existing home (one that has previously been lived in), according to the most recent data available from the National Association of Realtors®.

That's because new homes have pricier finishes and appliances, with no wear and tear on anything. Plus, land, labor, and building materials costs have been on the rise.

Meanwhile, the number of new homes sold and for sale dipped 1.5% from the previous month to about 662,000, according to the report. They rose, however, 11.6% from the same month a year earlier. Read more here. 

 

 

I've been house hunting for over a year (and counting) and visited over a hundred open houses in that time. Let me be clear: I'm not some overly picky real estate window shopper, because I have made offers, and been outbid. In New York City, where I'm looking, that's just par for the course.

Still, though, my experiences have turned me into an open house aficionado of sorts. I know what makes buyers swoon (myself and others), as well as what repels buyers the moment they set foot inside.

So if you're a home seller who hopes to bowl over buyers rather than send them running, I'm here to help. Let me tell you about a few things I've learned that could kill your chances of selling your home.

 Personal quirks on display

Steak sauce, mustard, and hot sauce. These condiments were not in the kitchen (as one would expect) but on a dresser in a bedroom of an open house I attended in Queens. Right then and there, I knew I had to get out of the house. Who knows what was going on there, but it was just too weird for me to stick around and ponder the possibilities.

 “First impressions matter,” says Gary Malin, president of the New York brokerage firm Citi Habitats. “Remember, you want the prospective buyer's attention to be on the home, not your personal life.”

Remove all personal items, including family photos, unusual collectibles, memorabilia, and misplaced condiments.

Hovering home sellers (or their kids)
At an open house in Brooklyn, there was also a surprise in the bedroom: I walked in to find cute kids under the covers half-asleep. Granted, these kids weren't there alone; their parents were lingering, too. But adult supervision or not, all these family members nearby made me want to flee, because I felt like I was intruding on their personal space.

“Home sellers often make the mistake of leaving their place too late and returning too soon,” says Aaron Hendon, an agent for Christine & Company with Keller Williams in Seattle.

A well-advertised open house will attract people early, and there will definitely be people arriving just as the agent is locking up. So plan on getting everyone up and out of bed an hour before the open house starts.

Dark, dusty rooms
A three-bedroom, two-bathroom condo I checked out in the suburban... READ MORE HERE

One of the hardest parts of selling your home is all the unknowns: Who will buy your place, and for how much? How long will it take? That uncertainty might make you particularly eager to soak up advice from just about anyone who's willing to share. Problem is, just because your sister or co-worker swear by certain rules that worked for them, it doesn't mean they'll be a magic solution for you, too.

Fact is, a lot of the real estate advice circulating out there is outdated, region-specific, or just plain wrong. As proof, check out this list of tips that many home sellers hear ... then learn how these words of wisdom don't always hold water. Let this serve as a reminder that when selling a home, you should take everything you hear with a huge grain of salt.
Read more here.