Buying a home is a significant milestone in your life and will require your undivided attention. It’s a major purchase and decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Maybe it’s your first time buying a home or you’re unsure if you want to move again or not. Regardless, there are a list of questions that need to be answered and issues that need to be worked out as you think about whether or not it’s a good time to move.
There are a few top considerations you should think through and evaluate before you pick up and move and buy a home. The following ideas and tips will help lead you to the answers you’re looking for and allow you to make the best choice possible for you and your family. You want to ensure that the decision you make is one you’ll be happy with for years to come and that you have no structural or financial regrets.
Your Financial Health & Budget
One top and critical consideration before you buy a home is to evaluate and think about your financial health and budget. Know that you may have to give a little and change up your list of must-haves if you want a home in a particular area but it’s not as fancy as you’d like, based on your budget. You want to know that you can afford your home and the required payments each month. Have an idea of your credit score and determine how much money you have to put down on a home. Hop online and use a free tool to figure your monthly payments on a 15 year mortgage, for example. It will allow you to see your costs broken down by category and calculate how much you can expect to pay so you can plan accordingly. If you know you want to purchase a home then it’s best to start saving right away so you have a set amount of money saved up when it comes time to put money down and move forward with buying a home.
You’re also going to want to think about your specific needs and desires when it comes to what you want in a home. Every family and situation is different and not all homes are made the same for this reason. Think about which type of home will best suit your needs and lifestyle. Every option has its pros and cons so think through what will be ideal for your situation. For instance, you can purchase a single-family home or maybe you want to buy a duplex and rent out the other side to other people. It all depends on what your budget is, your homeownership goals, and how much space you require. If you know you want to grow your family in the future then think through where everyone will sleep and if your kids will need to share bedrooms or bathrooms or not, for example.
Your List of Features & Must-Haves
It’s also a wise idea to sit down and come up with a list of features and must-haves. Otherwise, you risk feeling overwhelmed with all the choices that are out there and might become frustrated with the home-buying process. You want to know what your deal breakers are and what you can’t live without when you’re shopping for a new home. The list you create will help you narrow down your options from the wide variety of choices that are on the market. Think through how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want and the size of a kitchen you desire. You might also want to have a playroom for the kids or an extra room to use as a guest bedroom or office. While there should be some room for flexibility and adaptability, you also don’t want to purchase a home that will ultimately leave you feeling unhappy and unsatisfied.
Finding A Real Estate Agent
It’s more than likely you’re busy people and don’t want to have to put in all the legwork that comes with finding and buying a home. Therefore, one task you’ll have on your plate is to find a real estate agent who is proactive and you can trust to help you find your dream home. Consider what type of personality the person has and what their track record and reputation is in the industry. It may help to get a referral from a family member or friend or to read reviews about the person online before you commit. Sit down with the real estate agent you do choose and communicate to them exactly what you want and your budget so you’re both on the same page. While they’ll likely send you options as they become available you should also keep looking and notify your agent of any homes you want to see so you don’t lose out on anything that catches your eye. Let your agent do their job but you also might want to scope out listings online and drive around to see what areas you like the most.
Location & the Neighborhood
Another top consideration before you buy a home is to think about the location and neighborhood you want to be in. It may be that there are better schools and shopping in one area over the other. You might want to be close to a playground or near a swimming pool if you have kids. It may also be that you want to live in the suburbs where there are sidewalks and less traffic so you can keep your family safe. The location of the home is also going to impact the price and you may not be willing to spend what they’re asking for homes in certain spots. Do your homework and ask around for recommendations to get a better idea of which location and neighborhood will be best suitable for you and your loved ones. Go through open houses and drive and walk around each area you’re considering so you get a better feel for it and what you can expect if you move there.
Your job and career is another top consideration to think about before you move and buy a home. You might love what you do and where you work so it may require you to stay and find a home in the area where you already live. However, maybe you’re in a position to find a new position elsewhere and are willing to quit your current job based on where you want to move. These are important decisions you need to think through in detail before you decide to put money down on a home. Another option may be to ask your employer if you can work remotely and then finding a home won’t depend upon your job location. If this is the case, then you’re likely going to want to find a home that has room to set up a home office so you can work in quiet.
Condition of the House
Before you buy a home you should consider the condition of the house you’re contemplating purchasing. For instance, an older home that is run down may be less expensive but you might have a lot of work that you have to put into it once you move in. These are costs you should budget for and that will come into play later on. You might also need money for emergency situations if the furnace is old or there are known issues on the inspection report that are important you take care of right away. You may be more open to the idea of a fixer-upper if you or your spouse are handy and like to complete house projects. On the other hand, you may decide to spend more money upfront on a home because you don’t want to have to do much work to it after moving in. A move-in ready home might cost you more now but you’ll likely have fewer headaches to deal with and updates to make and can simply enjoy your home as it is when it’s time to get settled.
These are a few top considerations that should be on your mind as you prepare to buy a home. They’re questions and topics that don’t always come with easy answers. Give yourself plenty of time to plan and think through these matters so you can make the best decision possible based on your situation and what you want in a home. It’s worth putting in the hard work now so that you can feel confident that you’re making the right choice when it comes time to commit and put money down on a particular property. Begin the process early and start answering these questions now so you don’t feel pressured or stressed out when you’re looking for a new house. What matters the most is that you and your spouse are on the same page and you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into when you finally choose the home you want to move into and live in.