It’s easy to get caught up in the romanticism of becoming a homeowner. The possibilities feel endless and the notion of a new chapter would make anyone excited.
However, you should take a step back and take a look at these practical facets to determine if the house you’re looking at is well suited for you.
Get familiar with your budget.
You don’t want to buy a house you can’t afford. Utilize a house payment calculator to factor together your monthly debts, annual household income, and possible down payment to see where your debt-to-income ratio lies and what range of price points you should be looking at.
Do your neighborhood research.
Dive into finding out all you can about the neighborhoods you’re looking to own a home in. What’s the crime rate like? What will your commute to work look like?
Factor in the noise level, if amenities like stores are nearby, and what the school districts are like if you have children.
Next, research the homes in that neighborhood to see how many are for sale and what the prices were like for those that recently sold.
You want to be sure you aren’t overpaying for the home you’re looking at.
Additionally, if many homes have gone up for sale recently find out if there’s a specific reason why people are choosing to leave that area on a large scale.
Think of your mental and physical health.
Buying a home is a major commitment, both mentally and physically.
There’s repairs to be made, a yard to cut, and mentally straining tasks like unexpected expenses and taking on renovation projects.
Ask yourself if you’re really ready to clean a 4-bedroom 2-bath home on a routine basis, or if you’re simply going with a space that big because your finances allow it.
Sometimes settling into a smaller home and using the extra cash to make it exactly how you want it is the wiser choice.
List out the must-haves and the would-be-nice.
There are some facets of a home prospective buyers simply won’t budge on. It may be a large kitchen or a two-car garage.
That’s ok, as long as you are honest with yourself about what you absolutely require of your new home and what you can forgo in lieu of other things.
You may be willing to sacrifice a large front porch if you’ve got a big yard to build a deck in. You might settle for a place that will need a kitchen update years down the line given the fact the roof and windows are brand new.
Outline the expectations of everyone looking to purchase the home so you know where boundaries are.
Shop around and don’t settle.
Two major outside entities that will be part of the home buying process are the lender and a real estate agent (should you choose to use one).
Research more than one of each so you can do comparisons. Find out who has the best rates and reviews, and don’t be afraid to set up an initial meeting so you can get a feel for who you will be working with before you actually commit.