I am buying my first house. I am told by family and friends that this is one of the biggest decisions I will make in my life. Given I am shy of long term commitments, they are correct. The two key words I think about in learning about buying a house are Trust and Knowledge Management.
Trust is very important in buying an old house. If one doesn’t know much about homes, building or renovations, one needs to trust the people who hold this knowledge.
The realtor is the interface between your new house and the buyer. The agent should look out for your best interest and help get you what you want. After this, you have the home inspector, the potential contractors and builders and friends who help you assess if the house is solid, fixable, and a good buy. If these people are strangers to you, family might come into play and add their two cents based on experience.
Knowledge Management is very important in several ways.
First, in order to have the full picture of the house you are buying you need to draw on several sources. Using relationships and networks to find people you trust to provide input builds confidence in the decision making process.
Second, online research is important to ground truth information. If there is a lack of trust in any of the people you rely on to make the purchase decision, online resources provide background information, provincial regulations and additional questions to consider.
My situation has been mixed. I am using my networks to bring as much information to the table as possible so I can make an informed decision. When in doubt, I find more human and online resources to verify my thinking. I am learning that trust is essential in making a large purchase decision. However, it really boils down to gut instincts and the rest is justification for rationale minds!