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Reply to "First time home buyer"

A few pieces I learned from my own experience buying homes -- once in Virginia, another a few years later in Florida...

You see realtor fees when you SELL a house, but not when you buy. When you sell, you have to pay a percentage to your own realtor and to the realtor of the buyer. I bring this up even though you're looking to BUY because my first time around, I didn't realize what a big hit this would be when we sold a few years later. Because this piece didn't affect us when we purchased our first home, I underestimated how much it would affect us when we sold the home. We were able to sell the house for more than we purchased it because we'd made some serious upgrades, but we didn't profit much once we factored in realtor fees.

Realtor fees are typically 6% (3% to each party) but you can negotiate that to some extent, especially if you're in an expensive market. And of course, some folks sell without a realtor -- that's a process I'd love to learn more about!

Another piece to think about is house improvements. Even if you go through an inspection, you might find necessary improvements once you move into the house -- and they might end up being more expensive than you'd expected. No matter how much you learn about the property, you won't know it well until you move in, so I'd aim to have a fund built up in case you have a problem that needs to be fixed quickly.

Hope that helps!

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