Buying a house is one of the largest, most expensive investments you can make in your life. Therefore, you must approach it with caution. Home-buying is a multi-tiered process. You have to go into the process with your financial and personal security in mind. Always take your time.
Know What You Want Before You Look
You cannot expect just to wake up one morning and buy a house by the afternoon. That’s unsatisfactory and even reckless to an extreme. When you decide to buy, you should at least know what you are looking for.
Before even looking at homes, write down some of the things you need, want and do not want in a home. For example, do you want a two-story or ranch-style house? Hardwood floors or carpet? New or fixer-upper? What type of heating and air system do you want? There’s no limit to what you can include on your list.
However, make sure you note what items you absolutely cannot do without in your new home. If you have certain items that you can’t compromise, this will help you better understand where you can make other changes.
Your Budget Is the Most Important Thing
One thing you must settle before buying your home is how much you want to pay for it. Obviously, if you cannot afford a $500,000 home, don’t buy a $500,000 home. Investing your money in a home is going to affect your credit, bank accounts and ability to save. Therefore, before buying you have to prepare to do so.
Most people start saving for a home a few years before they buy. Often, they call this money their nest egg. A proper nest egg can help home-buyers afford a down payment, insurance, and other costs to move into a new home.
When you buy a home, you likely won’t pay for it in one lump sum. Most people take out loans from a bank, then repay the loan over time. For this reason, you have to think of your ability to make a house payment over a number of years. Ask yourself, do you have the income, stability and security to pay a mortgage?
And a house payment won’t be your only cost when buying a home. Can you afford to maintain the home’s interior and exterior? What about homeowners insurance? Can you afford repairs, yard maintenance and higher utility costs? These will all come with buying a home. You have to make sure you have the income and stability to pay those bills.
Home Insurance is Part of Your Budget
Once of the most important parts of your budget should be your homeowners insurance. If you take out a mortgage, you will likely have to buy this coverage as part of your loan agreement. However, all homeowners should carry this coverage.
Coverage can help you should you need money to help you repair damage following a hazard in the home. Most home insurance policies contain:
· Dwelling Coverage: To protect the house and other buildings on the property.
· Contents Insurance: Can help homeowners replace their personal property in the home.
· Liability Insurance: If someone gets hurt in your home, or you damage someone else’s property, this coverage can help you compensate that person. You might have a legal responsibility to pay the harmed party for their losses.
And other forms of coverage.
However, no two home policies are the same. Talk to your insurer, realtor and mortgage lender to determine what coverage you need.
Look Before You Look
Once you start looking for a home, you don’t have to start talking to a realtor right off the bat. Often, it’s a good idea before you start visiting homes to look at them from other angles.
Real estate websites, like Zillow, can help buyers compare options in their local area. You can often use these resources to look at a wide variety of homes in your desired location.
You don’t even have to confine your research to the computer. Sometimes, simply driving around town and looking at houses on the market can help you see more of what you do and don’t want.
Work with a Reputable Realtor
Most first-time buyers use a real estate company or agent to help them find their home. Using a realtor is a great way to work with a knowledgeable professional. That person should have a knowledge of the local market, and will often know very specific details of about the houses they show. Always use realtors who understand your needs, budget and timeline.
Do Not Settle for Less
Buying a home is one of the few times that you can discriminate against properties. If you aren’t satisfied with your property options, do not buy the home hoping that things will improve. You should know from day one what house is right for you.
Furthermore, when you decide to make an offer on a home, you will likely face a period of negotiation over prices. You and your realtor should manage this process carefully. This can help you to ensure that you and the home’s seller agree to a satisfactory selling price.