Buying a home is expensive. Although you may be tempted to cut corners here and there to save some cash, there are certain things you should never skimp on when it comes to your abode. Cheaping out may save you in the short term, but it can cause major headaches—and end up being way more expensive—in the long run. Here are four things you should never skimp on when buying a home, according to real estate experts:
1. Electric work
You need electricity for a variety of daily tasks, so don’t take any shortcuts when it comes to the electrical setup in your home. According to Gill Chowdhury of Warburg Realty, upgraded electrical in older homes is necessary to support modern conveniences many of us take for granted, such as a washer and dryer and central air conditioning.
2. The location
The old refrain of “location, location, location” is not just an empty adage. If you stretch the bounds of where you really want to live, you’ll likely be disappointed down the road.
“Don’t skimp on the town for the sake of the house,” says Alison Bernstein of Suburban Jungle, a real estate and lifestyle advisory firm that focuses on helping young families transition from urban to suburban living in major metro areas. “Selecting the right town is critical to your life and family development.”
Bernstein points out while that you can always modify your home with additions and renovations, where that house is located is set in stone.
“Living in a better location might save you 20 minutes (each way) in commuting, which will add up to thousands of hours you can have back in your life,” says Martin Eiden, a real estate agent with Compass in New York City.
3. Homeowners insurance
You probably already know that homeowners insurance is a must, but you should also keep in mind that any old policy will not necessarily do.
“While insurance is required by lenders, that doesn’t stop homeowners from skimping on the coverage amount to save money every month,” says John Holloway, co-founder of NoExam.com, a digital insurance brokerage.
In lieu of reducing coverage, Holloway recommends reducing your rate by taking preventative measures. For example, a security system with monitoring for police and fire can cut your rates by about five percent. Similarly, cutting down dangerous trees or updating your plumbing or electrical work reduces your chances of making a claim, and in turn, your rates.
“Always maintain replacement cost value coverage, which would cover the replacement cost on the loss of your personal property as well as the structure,” advises Tara King of HomeSmart Cherry Creek Properties in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
4. The inspection
The inspection is another necessary part of the home-buying process that should not be taken lightly. Robert Taylor of The Real Estate Solutions Guy in Cameron Park, California recommends using a whole home inspector for the best value.
“A whole home inspector is going to walk through a very long and exhaustive list of items to check,” says Taylor. “They may not see everything, but they’re likely to see things that you cannot. These detailed inspections can protect you from problems that even the seller didn’t know about, and therefore didn’t disclose to you.”
According to Derik Keith of Keith Home Team in Norman, Oklahoma, a proper inspection can end up saving you a ton of money—not to mention your sanity.
“For example, knowing that the roof is in bad shape and needs to be replaced in the next year will help you plan for the cost of the job, and might even help you negotiate a better price before you buy!” says Keith. “But when you skip this valuable step, you could be setting yourself up for all sorts of unforeseen expenses, headaches, and stress. Buying a home is difficult enough, so don’t skip an inspection to save a few hundred dollars when it could end up saving you thousands.”