5 unexpected things first-time homebuyers should know

Exterior of a blue house in Lakeland
These tips will ensure you won’t be caught off guard while searching for a home | Photo provided

With interest rates remaining low, more and more Lakelanders are exploring homeownership — and becoming a homeowner is a significant accomplishment. For potential buyers who are currently looking for a home, here are some things that often get overlooked during the buying process. 

Rules of the neighborhood 🏘️

Look into any requirements the neighborhood has before making a decision. This might include a formal homeowners’ association that dictates specific regulations for the community. From holiday decor to lawn maintenance, homeowners might run into fines if they don’t abide by certain rules. It’s important to discuss this with a real estate agent if it isn’t something you want to deal with.

The real cost of renovations 💰

Just because you’re a fan of HGTV doesn’t mean you’ll be able to tackle all renovations. DIY projects can add up quickly if you don’t stick to a budget. Some issues, like water damage or termites, need to be addressed by professionals — which can also come at a cost. Be realistic while looking at properties and think about what projects you can tackle and what will need to be outsourced. #ProTip: Don’t forget to budget for interior design costs like paint or new furniture, which might not fit the new space.

Do you have a green thumb? 

Beautiful landscaping adds to a home’s curb appeal, but it’s the homeowner’s responsibility once they sign the paperwork. Think about how you’ll tackle mowing the lawn and weeding flower beds. #ProTip: Bringing in a lawn care service might be the best solution to maintain a pristine property. 

Trash removal 🗑️

Along with water and electricity, trash removal is another service that might need to be set up before moving in. DYK? Most cities require specific trash bins for removal — don’t expect bagged trash to be picked up. 

Pay attention to energy efficiency 💡

While touring older properties, ask questions about appliances + other features. If appliances are outdated or windows are drafty, energy bills will be higher than expected. If it happens to be your dream home, budget ways to improve the house’s efficiency before starting other projects. 

Interested in exploring the Lakeland market? Contact the local pros at S&D Real Estate online or by calling (863) 824-7169.