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Old 05-16-2006, 09:42 PM
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Post Finding a home can be painful but rewarding

After living in an apartment for two years, I decided I had wasted enough money on rent and dedicated a good portion of the last few months to buying my first home.

My strategy was simple -find the perfect home in a crime-free area for less than I could afford. Needless to say, I have been about a successful as I was in keeping my New Year's resolution.

The dream of living in the young professionals' paradise of downtown Greenville -- as advertised by local politicians and developers -- was tragically crushed by my inability to afford ridiculously priced condos as a twenty-something and the fact I'm a twenty-something who'd like to act like one in downtown.

If you're looking at buying a home this spring or summer, here are some tips to follow that might land you a home.

Hopefully they'll help me land one soon too.

Stay in contact with your Realtor. I think I'm in contact with my Realtor more than anyone in the Upstate. (Well, my girlfriend is my Realtor.) Talking to your real estate agent everyday not only will give you an opportunity to look at hundreds of homes before finding the perfect one, but will also land you a few free meals.

Stay in budget. Your mortgage company will tell you how much you can afford. Aim lower than this. If you can only afford a four-digit home, you're destined to live in a cardboard box. Sorry.

Look at homes that were new when Grandma was a twenty-something. These fixer-uppers are actually affordable, have decent flooring and can provide for a good investment for a few years down the road.

Expect to have to fix an older home. Was your potential new home crushed by a branch in last year's ice storm? It probably at least needs to have its roof fixed, which leads us to ...

Look at everything - then look again. Not all defects in a home are obvious. Mold, rot and other undesirables can eat away your new dwelling before you make the first mortgage payment. A good home inspector can find these before you sign your first-born child away in the contract.
Finding a home doesn't have to be a hopeless endeavor, in fact it can be really fun if you know where to look and what to do.

Or in my case, have a Realtor who does.

Adam Wickliffe can be reached at 298-3763.

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