Buying a house is a life changing experience and long lasting decision. Once you buy a house you will have tons of decisions to make with respect to it for years to come, not to mention potentially 30 years of mortgage payments. With that being said, it is important to spend some time to research the home you are interested in along with various other factors to make sure this is the best home for you!
Take a look at some of these considerations when thinking of buying a home.
Get Pre-Qualified for a Loan
You shouldn’t even bother with looking for a home until you know how much money you have to spend on the home. Not to mention that just because you get pre-qualified for a home that it is the right decision to purchase the home. You should be able to live comfortably within your means. Not only should you meet with a realtor to get started on what kinds of things you should be thinking about, but you should get started with a lender, preferably one you have a good relationship with, who has your best interest in mind that can help to determine how much of a home you will be able to afford. They will be able to identify your estimated monthly payment as well as any money down you will need to come up with and how much you may be able to borrow.
Again, remember, you will be a home owner and within that are many expenses that come with it. This will come into play when looking at the home inspection – that is coming later.
Determine What Kind of House You Want
Now that you know how much you can afford, it is helpful to get an idea of how your situation will change or stay for the next 20-30 years. Will your children be moving out, will you have guests coming to visit often, are your children leaving the home? This will help to determine the amount of space you will need. This is to include if you need office space or a larger or smaller garage, among many other things. Are you getting older and climbing stairs is no longer something that you are able to, or interested in doing? Or is it the complete opposite and your leaving that one bedroom home or apartment and ready to start a family – consider how many children as you wouldn’t want to have to buy up again in 5 or so years.
Either way, start looking well in advance as closing can easily take 30 days and that is after the whole home buying process – from looking at houses, home inspection, negotiating and all.
Consider Current Living Arrangements
Sure, you want out of that tiny house you live in, or you are stuck in a lease on the home or apartment you are living in or even still – you have to sell the house you live in now. These are all things you need to consider when moving or changing your current living. Not to mention being sure you are giving proper notice, usually at least 30 days prior to your move out to your current landlord.
Where Do You Want to Live?
You know the realtor saying – location, location, location. This is so very true. Are you living close to your job, the mall, to interstates, which schools, how are the neighborhoods, do you have neighbors, are you living in a crash zone, is there a railroad track near, are their lots of small children and parks nearby (this may be important if you have little ones), how close is the police and/or fire department, will you need to drive miles to get to the nearest gas station, convenience store or grocery store? Lot of things to consider and be sure to drive around your potential neighborhood at all hours of the day to see what kind of trouble, or quiet lurks. What about special zoning like flood zones. Wow, lots of things to consider when buying a home!
Amenities & Layout for Your New Home – What do YOU Need?
Now that you know where you want to live, you’ll want to be sure that the house that you seek has the amenities, appliances, layout, yard, proximity of neighbors and the like that you want. Further, are you going to need to replace the carpet, replace the walls, or what about the appliances.
This is where a Home Inspection will do you some serious good. Nothing like finding that dream home to find out that the water heater, air conditioner, heater or even the roof or foundation needs to be replaced. What a money pit it will turn into. Remember that bit about knowing how much you can afford and to include the regular expenses of being a home owner, that’s where this plays a hefty roll.
Further, where will everything fit in your potential new home? Will all of your furniture fit - do you have the space you need for your office, living room furniture or dining room table? Does the new place have a washer, dryer or refrigerator or will yours fit into the living space? What about pets, children or entertaining – will it provide ample space inside and out for pets, your family and if you like to entertain regularly?
While you may not spend a lot of time in the bedrooms – usually it is the kitchen (sorry ladies) or the common living areas. But is the closet space adequate for all of your belongings, hobbies and will your bedroom set fit?
Outside the home, is there easy access to the garage or where you will park your vehicles and yet still secure enough with a privacy fence or layout to where you can keep yourself and family safe. These are all great things to consider as well.
Offer and Negotiation
Now that you have had reviewed the home to meet your needs and wants, had the home inspection and had any improvements made, it’s time to make an offer and negotiate on any further improvements or concessions. Consider the value of the homes around it, how long it has been on the market and the situation of the current home owner – this will help determine how much wiggle room you have in the sales price and closing costs. Don’t forget, you may not be the only one presenting an offer on the house so keep this in mind as well. Then comes the time where the house is appraised to determine that it is worth the value that the home owner claims and that you may be getting a loan to cover.
Congratulations – You Are a Home Owner
You closed on your new house, now welcome to the world of home ownership. Be sure you keep all of your closing documents in a safe place and prepare yourself for the move in and getting settled. Hopefully this has been helpful.
If you or someone you know is preparing to buy a house, please let us know if we can be of service for the home inspection for that home to prepare you for what you are buying. Please keep in mind we not only offer a home inspection, but can provide a free termite inspection, thermography inspections, new home construction Phase inspections as well as inspections on pools, radon and more. Contact us today for more information or schedule your home inspection here.