Buying a home, especially your first home, is a much bigger commitment than renting. You have the comfort of picking a place that suits your needs for the short-term when you are a renter. There are very few commitments bigger than buying a home, financially and in terms of how long you’ll probably live there. That’s why it’s important to do your research whether you’re looking for a house, condo, or investment property. As you consider starting the journey toward purchasing your own home, here is a list of 5 important things to think about.
1. Think about the future
Whether you have a family of 4 or are a single person, it’s important to consider future changes in your household that could impact your need for additional square footage, bedrooms, or bathrooms. Ask the question: How long do I plan to live in my new home? If you expect your household to grow – or shrink – within that time frame, you may want to consider having an extra bedroom or maybe even just a bonus room that could be converted later.
2. Avoid buying a lemon
Even if your first home doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles, be sure the basics are in good condition. Of course, a thorough inspection of a property you are interested in purchasing is a must. Shannon calls upon local professional Home Inspector, Nathan Baker of Pillar to Post, to ensure her clients are aware of any and all defects.
3. Make a list
Sometimes, our first home won’t be our dream home. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a home that you can turn into your dream home. It’s important to prioritize between what you absolutely have to have and what would be nice to have. Write down a list of “Needs” and “Wants” and work on finding a place that at least meets your “Needs” and stays within your budget.
4. Remember: It’s not just about the sale price
As a renter, you have the luxury of paying one amount to a landlord, who in turn has the responsibility of worrying about recurring costs. Full living costs of a home are very important to consider when purchasing a home. Aside from the mortgage, some expenses to consider are utilities you normally didn’t have to pay for like water, sewage, and trash disposal fees. Additionally, some neighborhoods form Homeowner’s Associations to ensure a peaceful and clean living environment, among other things. They also require periodic payments for dues and other fees.
Although your lender won’t be taking these costs into consideration when approving your home loan, Shannon will include these additional monthly costs while determining the price range that is comfortable for your budget.
5. The life of it all
Your home inspection identifies structural or cosmetic problems before you purchase a home. It is also important to understand that some of the home’s appliances or other features won’t last forever so it’s imperative to understand the health of the components of a home as well. How long will the roof be in top shape? How old is that hot water heater? Is the flooring new? All homes need maintenance to ensure they remain in good shape for the years to come. Bottom line is – maintenance and improvement is the key to keeping your home looking good and staying equitable.
When you’re ready to start the process of buying a home, Shannon Severance and her team will be there, ready to help.