There comes a time when buying a home becomes more practical then continuing to rent. Right now the market is at a point where renting is actually more expensive monthly than buying. Renting has a few benefits that buying doesn’t but instead that if you are interested in buying a home now is a great time to enter the market. Here are five questions to ask yourself when narrowing down your homeownership goals:
What type of home situation best meets your needs?
There are a variety of residential home styles to choose from when you are looking to purchase. Consider all of your options including: traditional style single family homes, duplexes, townhouses, condominiums, co-op’s and multi-family buildings. There are pros and cons of each and depending on your homeownership goals at the moment will help establish the style of home you should focus on finding.
What are must have features you are looking to have in a home?
When buying a home there are certain features that are must-haves, some that would be nice and some that are downright unnecessary but would be a dream. Create your own list and make sure that it offers a bit of flexibility. You deserve a home that offers you exactly what you want!
What type of mortgages do you qualify for?
Before you hire a realtor meet with a mortgage broker to determine how much you can pre-qualify for and what types of mortgage options are available for your current situation. Knowing how much a lender will lend will give you a starting point on the price range of homes you should be focusing in on. Before you begin searching for a mortgage or home get your personal finances in order. Make sure your credit is in order, you have a solid history of paying your bills on time, substantial savings and a maximum debt to income ratio of no more than thirty six to forty three percent.
What amount can you afford to take on monthly?
Another thing to consider after finding out how much a lender will lend is how much you actually feel comfortable paying each month. Consider the amount of the mortgage, interest, insurance along with utilities and other monthly bills you have. You will want to be comfortable with the amount that you will be spending each month. The last thing you want is to be house poor without any money to spare each month.
What does your savings account look like?
In order to purchase a home it is important to have a down payment, closing costs and money for the incidentals that will arise after you move in. Take time to build up a substantial savings before you get serious about looking to find a home of your dreams.
Purchasing your first home comes with many trials and tribulations. In the first year after closing there are many valuable lessons to be learned. Here are some things to think about as you begin the process of going from renting to buying.
Think About The Future: When buying your first home it is easy to get caught up. At the time you can’t imagine that you will ever need to sell this home you are about to start building your future in. This however can’t be further than the truth. The truth is the first home you purchase will most likely not be the last one you purchase. No matter where you are at or what stage you are at it is important that you take into consideration how difficult it will be to eventually sell when you are ready for the next step.
Checklist: When you are purchasing your first home, second or third, you will find it is quiet an emotional process. It is quite possible to overlook things when your emotions start to take over. Before starting your adventure into buying your first home create a checklist of must-haves, nice-to-haves and other essentials. Print the list and take a copy with you to each and every house you visit. Also bring with you a camera. If you fall in love with a home but with your checklist and photos show that the house doesn’t have any of the must-haves then at least it will make you rethink the purchase?
Budget For Housing Expenses: When considering what you can don’t just consider the principal, interest, taxes and insurance. You must take into account the amount you will spend on utilities, home improvement upgrades and costs to commute. Can you afford the house, the extra expenses while living the life style you have become accustomed to?
Look Into The Neighborhood: Check out the neighborhood. Is it a neighborhood that is full of children and growing families? Do you enjoy the chitter-chatter of kids or will it drive you crazy? Is the neighborhood full of older adults whose families have grown? Did you plan on having kids? Will the lifestyle you are considering for your future fit within the existing neighborhood?
Look Beyond The Staging: We all think we are smart enough that we will not fall for the tricks that are used in staging however the psychology of staging works. Homes look better when they are occupied. When you are truly looking to say yes to a home it is important to remove the staging setup from your mind and consider your belongings in the layout of the home. Just because lights are sitting on the nightstands doesn’t mean that there are plugs there to go with it. Staging can play games with your emotions.