There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to buying your first home. It’s a huge decision, and you want to make sure it’s the right one. But how do you keep yourself from getting totally overwhelmed?
Here are some key things to keep in mind when weighing your dream home options:
Is the neighborhood right for you? You’re not just buying the house and lot…you’re also buying the experience of living in the neighborhood it’s in. So make sure it fits your personality. We’re homebodies, so we’re very happy in our quiet neighborhood filled mainly with older people and couples whose kids have grown up and moved out. You might want to be more in the thick of the action, close to shops and restaurants and night life. Visit your potential home during a few different periods throughout the day to get a real feel for what living there might be like.
Know how much of a mortgage you can afford, not how much you can qualify for. The Hubby and I technically could have bought a more expensive house…we qualified for a higher mortgage. But when we looked at the numbers, we realized we weren’t comfortable with the monthly mortgage payments we’d be stuck with if it bought something on the high end of our range. Just because you can buy a $250K house doesn’t mean you need to. You might be just as happy in a $150K house, and you’ll have more money each month for other expenses. Also make sure to get pre-approved for your loan before house hunting so you don’t waste your time checking out houses way out of your purchase power.
Check out all your mortgage options. There are all kinds of mortgages out there, from adjustable rate mortgages to fixed rate home loans. Make sure to do your research to make sure you’re getting the type of loan, interest rate, and term that best fits your needs. Shop around at different banks and lenders. This is a big, long-term decision, so you don’t want to make it lightly.
Check out first-time home buyers’ programs. Depending on things like your personal income, you may qualify for incentives like lower down payments, lower interest rates, and other assistance.
ALWAYS get a home inspection. I cannot believe there are still people out there who skip this step. It’s like getting married to someone the first day you meet him, having no idea who he really is or what issues you two might have down the line. You need to know what you’re getting into. Will the roof need repair in a few years? Is there a huge problem with the electrical? Once you know all the potential problems of the house, you can go back to the seller and ask for concessions like a drop in the price or having them fix the issues before closing date. Or, if it’s too much work and the seller isn’t cooperating, you may need to walk away.
What other tips would you offer first0time home buyers?
photo credit: Images_of_Money