When it comes to big decisions like buying a home, you need to really take the time to think about what you’re doing, and take deliberate, planned steps from start to finish. Houses provide a sense of ownership and free you from the pains of renting, but it’s a huge monetary investment, and there’s also the hassle of moving and upkeep to consider. While you could simply ‘bide your time’ with a rental and wait for the lease to be up, buying a home has a level of moderate permanence that needs to be considered as well.
If you’ve decided to take the first step and are looking at buying a home, here are the top things that should be factoring into your home buying decision.
Location, location, location
When it comes to buying home, it needs to add convenience to your life in some ways, and the location of your home is important for several different reasons. Think about what you want in terms of a neighborhood, the environment you want to be living in, and what you can afford. There’s going to be some give and take on this, but you want to make sure that the home you’re buying is reasonable for your work commute, that it is near a good school district if you have children, that it’s in a safe neighborhood, and that the housing market in the area is within your budget. If you want to live close to family, that’s another consideration when it comes to location.
Stay within your budget
The biggest mistake you can make is going well beyond what you can realistically afford, to find your ‘dream home’. Particularly if this is the first home that you’re purchasing, you need to be realistic and opt for a home that you like, but one that’s also well within your budget. You need to factor in mortgage costs, property taxes, and the actual upkeep costs for the home and grounds. Sometimes you can negotiate down the asking price of a home, but you want to stay within your budget range when looking at houses, to save yourself trouble and heartache down the line.
Know the market
For purchasing a home, knowledge is power. You need to know how hot or cold the real estate market is in your area, and what the standard value and asking price is on houses in the area. You want to try and get as much information about the market as possible, before you ever step foot in a home for sale. You need to make sure that you’re getting a good deal, and that you’re a fully informed consumer, as this is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make.
Don’t be rushed
When you’re in the heat of the moment, and you’re getting that rush of excitement when out house hunting, it can be enticing to jump on a house just because it’s there. Buying a home isn’t something you should take lightly, and you need to take your time. Maybe you’re worried about interest rates going up, or being ‘priced out of the market’ – don’t be. Continue to look for a home that you love, and don’t feel like you have to immediately settle for what’s on the market.
But don’t take too long
On the flip side, because you have the vision of a dream house in your mind, you may also end up feeling indecisive and unable to decide on a home, even if it feels like the right fit. Create a list of the absolute essentials you want in a home, and then find a home that meets that criteria – at least for the most part. Don’t spend several years trying to find that perfect dream home in your head, because it may not exist in your area within your budget.
Be wary of flip properties
Particularly in hot real estate markets, there are agents or contractors that will buy a home, add some superficial improvements to the space, and then quickly ‘flip it’ – putting it back on the market to make a profit. While this may be an okay business model for them, as a home buyer you could end up with a home that appears to be put together and well taken care of, only to find that there was substandard work done, or that the façade of a beautiful space falls way to some expensive home fixes.