Buying your first home should not be a hasty decision. Many homeowners consider they could have done some things differently if they could turn back time and feel they could write an entire book on “Things I would have liked to know before buying my first home”.
5 Things You Must Do Before Buying Your First Home
We have created a list of 5 things you need to do before buying a home, so you continue to be happy with your decision after moving in:
1. Choose experienced professionals to work with
Are you tired of well-intentioned, but annoying and useless advice you get from family and friends? The solution is simple – hold your tongue and don’t tell everyone you are looking to buy a property, except for experienced people whose advice you value. Keep in mind that other people’s past experiences may not be relevant anymore to nowadays real estate market.
A much better move is collaborating with professionals, starting with a real estate agent and ending with the home inspector that will check your potential new home for damage. Getting the best services can eventually help you save thousands of dollars, even if the expenses you’ll support in the beginning are slightly higher.
2. Find out exactly how much you can afford
Many first-time home buyers tend to judge with their heart instead of using their heads, and may end up choosing properties they can’t actually afford. It’s crucial to keep in mind that homeownership comes with some additional costs, besides the monthly mortgage rate (insurance, closing costs, higher utility bills, redecoration, taxes, moving services and so on). Also, buy the property you can afford now, and not later. Some experts may even advise you to actually buy less than you can afford.
3. Learn financial discipline
Homeownership involves monthly mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, and other additional expenses, and all these require money. If you have never saved a penny your entire life, you’ll find it hard to give up on your expensive holiday plans or use a cheaper car in order to have enough money left to pay your mortgage.
Our advice is starting to save a significant amount of money each month for at least a couple of years. Use a mortgage calculator to find out what your monthly payment will be, add other taxes and expenses, subtract your rent payment and see if you can save that amount each month.
4. Determine how much housing you need
You probably need less space than you want to buy. How is this possible?
A very wise decision any future home owner should make is getting rid of old or useless stuff. Why get in huge debt just to fill those extra rooms with items you don’t need?
Inspect your dressing room, cupboards and closets and get rid of the items that you don’t use. Instead of allowing things to take more of your living space, you can throw them away, have more money in your account and enjoy more freedom in your life.
5. Get to know the property very well
This is one of the most important aspects – being sure about what you’re paying for. You don’t want to move in and discover there are cracks in the foundation or your home is located in a high flood risk area. Here are some tips for all home buyers, whether they are becoming home owners for the first time or purchasing a second or third property:
- Find out what insurance claims and repairs have been made in the last years and how many owners the house has had before. In some states, sellers are required by law to disclose this type of information.
- Perform a research on the area’s zoning laws – how strict are they in case you want to make improvements to your home?
- Check local criminal records – remember that real estate agents are not allowed to offer information on the subject.
- Do a thorough inspection of the home. It’s best to hire a professional home inspector and join him or her as they are checking the condition of your potential new home. Some areas that should be covered are water damage, mold, dampness, attic and basement condition, and high-end finishes that may hide serious problems such as cracks in the walls. An expert should be able to discover all those hidden problems that inexperienced people overlook.
Last of all, analyze the entire context carefully and see if buying a home makes sense to you financially. Don’t take on your shoulders the challenges of home ownership just because you are “supposed to” or you are looking for a way to invest your money. We hope you’ll be able to make an informed decision!