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In the first of our six-part series, we followed first-time homeowner Chelsea Lipford as she goes through the process of finding and buying a house to call her own.

Finding a House

The quest for a home begins by finding the house of your dreams. There are a number of ways to locate houses that are for sale, including:

  • Newspaper classified ads.
  • Realty company listings and fliers.
  • Online Realty websites and multiple listing sites.
  • Driving around neighborhoods of interest.
  • Engaging a Realtor to help in the search.
  • Word of mouth from friends and family.
Chelsea and Danny Lipford looking for the perfect first home.

When looking for a house, it’s important to consider:

  • Location of the house.
  • Condition of other houses in the neighborhood.
  • Whether the asking price is in your price range.
  • Condition of the house and outbuildings.
  • Safety concerns and crime in the neighborhood.
  • Lot size and condition of the landscaping and lawn.

Watch video on House Hunting for the First Time Homeowner.

Home Inspection

Once you find a house you’re interested in, examine it carefully, both inside and out – including the attic, basement, and crawlspace – for problems such as:

Chelsea Lipford signing the paperwork for her first house.
  • Age and condition of the heating and cooling system.
  • Electrical system, including the wiring and circuit breaker box.
  • Rot or mold on siding, eaves, attic, or under house.
  • Peeling paint on the siding or interior walls and trim.
  • Condition of the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Excess moisture or standing water in the yard or under the house.
  • Condition of the septic tank, if the house is on one.
  • Amount and condition of attic insulation.
  • Condition of the windows and doors.
  • Condition of outbuildings, such as garage or storage building.
  • Presence of asbestos in siding, flooring, or insulation.
  • Presence of lead paint both inside and outside of the house.
  • Presence of rodents, fleas, or other animal pests.
  • Presence of termites in or under the house.
  • Availability of affordable homeowners’ insurance for the house.

In addition to conducting a thorough examination yourself, it’s important to hire a reputable home inspector to go over the house from top to bottom before purchasing.

Read article on Importance of a Home Inspection When Buying a House.

First Time Homeowner House

The 1940 cottage that first-time homeowner Chelsea Lipford purchased had only one owner over the years. The two-bedroom, one-bath home is just under 1,000 square feet in size.

While in fair condition the house was in need of substantial renovation and modernization, including the kitchen, bathroom, deck, siding, roof, walls, floor, and landscaping.

First Time Homeowner kitchen before renovation.

Watch the video of Before Tour of the First Time Homeowner House.

First Time Homeowner House Remodel

Once the house had closed, Jodi Marks, the Best New Products host on Today’s Homeowner, and Chelsea went to The Home Depot to buy materials for the renovation work ahead.

Preliminary work that was performed prior to moving in included:

First Time Homeowner bathroom before remodeling.

Read also: How to Manage Asbestos Flooring

Other Tips from This Episode

Utility knife with blade protruding

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Moving Tips for Boxes

When packing boxes for moving, mark all of the boxes that go in a particular room with the same color tape. Then when you arrive at your new house, put a piece of the colored tape on the door to the room, so the movers will know where the boxes for each room go. To keep from damaging items when opening boxes, set your utility knife with only 1/8” of the blade protruding. (Watch This Video)

Can of Rust-Oleum Universal Spray Paint

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Rust-Oleum Universal Spray Paint

Advanced formula Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint adheres to a wide range of surfaces, including wood, metal, plastic, and masonry. It comes in various colors and different finishes, including gloss, satin, flat, hammered, and metallic. Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint is available at The Home Depot. (Watch This Video)

Danny Lipford next to plumbing

Ask Danny Lipford:
Tackling DIY Projects

When deciding whether to tackle a home improvement or repair project yourself, consider your skill level and how much time you have to commit to the project. Common do-it-yourself projects include painting, installing DIY-friendly flooring (such as laminate), and demolition work. Projects involving plumbing and wiring, however, are often best left to the professionals. (Watch This Video)

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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