5 Tips for Buying Your First Home
One of the things that people most look forward to in adulthood is owning a home. Whether it is old or new, a place to call your own is always something to look forward to. If you are in a place in your life where you are ready to take the step toward homeownership, it is important that you do your research. It is not a decision that should be made lightly or without much thought.
Being financially prepared to buy your home is perhaps the most important thing. You should also consider what size home you will need in the future. You should decide if your first home purchase will be your last one, or if you are just getting a starter home. When you put all of these things into perspective, you can look forward to finding a home that is perfect for you.
1. Choose Your Location
Once you decide that you have enough money to buy a home, you need to choose your location. If you are able to move anywhere that you like, you might want to look up safety ratings and cost of living of cities across the country. If you have one specific area that you would like to live in, it is best to start the house hunt early. The more time you give yourself, the more time you will have to find the perfect house.
If you are already established in your location, there will be a few extra things for you to consider. How close do you want to live to your workplace? Do you have family members that you want to be near? What type of school district will you be living in? All of these things should be considered before signing any closing papers.
2. Determine Your Budget
It is easy to get carried away looking through pictures of beautiful homes without ever once considering your budget. However, it is best to know what you can spend before you even start looking at homes. You need to consider your current income to decide how much home you can actually afford. Also, when discussing mortgage payments and mortgage refinance rates, think about how long you want to be paying for your home.
In many cases, it is better to buy a smaller home than you can easily afford than to buy something that will take you years to pay off. After all, you can always upgrade to a bigger home later. That being said, you will want to consider your family size when choosing your ideal home size. You do not want to outgrow your home as soon as you move into it.
3. Find the Best Mortgage Rate
When you have a budget in mind for your home, you can start talking to the bank about how you will finance it. It is a good idea to talk to more than one bank to find out who has the best interest rate. Do some research about what current interest rates are for home purchases so you know how much you should actually be paying.
Before discussing a loan with your bank, you will want to consider your current credit situation. If you have bad credit and feel that you will be unable to secure a loan, you might want to wait until you are more financially stable. Be sure that you are paying all of your debts on time each month; for example, making payments on time for your rent, credit cards and car payments will make you look like a more reliable borrower.
4. Use a Real Estate Agent
Home buying can be a complicated process, and it can be a good idea to hire someone who has ample experience in this area. A real estate agent can help you find homes within your budget that you might not even realize on the market. They can also help arrange home viewings for you, and you will have someone to give you expert advice on the current state of the market.
It is OK to talk to a few different real estate agents before making a decision about who you will use. After all, choosing a home is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life, and you do not want to have any regrets. If you feel that one agent just is not the right fit, remember that there are plenty more that can help you find your dream home.
5. Hire Your Own Inspector
Before you finalize the purchase of a home, it is a good idea to pay for your own home inspection. You want to know that the home that you are buying is structurally sound, and it is important that you have an expert opinion on this. There are plenty of things that can be wrong with a home that is not obvious to the untrained eye. While an older home will likely need some repairs and updates, it is nice to know about these things ahead of time.
If you do decide to buy a home that is in need of repairs, consider how much extra that is going to cost. While the extra expense may be worth it to live in a home that you will truly love, you must also consider the amount of time that it will take for the home to be completely livable.
There are many things about being an adult that are not very fun — for example, going to work every day and paying taxes. However, there are plenty of things that are fun about being an adult, like getting to pick out your own house. Be realistic about what your family can afford in a new home, but do not compromise on the things that really matter to you. When you take time to do research and view several homes, you can feel good about your final decision. There are few things better than finding a house that you can finally call home.