There are five things you must consider before buying your first home. There are so many things to think about. The cost of buying and maintaining a home is a major consideration. Then there is the matter of what you really want in a home. The last step is finding a real estate agent to help you in the negotiating process. Here are the steps that will help you get into your first home.
Budget. The first thing you must do is sit down and plan your budget. You need to figure out exactly how much you can afford to pay for a house. This is not only about a house payment. You have to take into consideration the cost of the property taxes and your homeowners insurance. There is also the matter of utilities. If you have been living in an apartment, take into consideration that a house will most likely be bigger and will require extra money for utilities. Plus you also will have to pay for trash service. There will also be the occasional repair to your new home. It does cost money for upkeep. All these items need to be figured in so you do not get in over your head. I personally did not do this when I bought my first house. I was in trouble before I got started. I made it work but I was broke for a few months. There is always that unplanned expense.
Commitment. Are you ready for home ownership? Being a homeowner requires a commitment. It can be very rewarding. It is a great financial move because real estate is a great investment. But are you really ready for it? There is the matter of having yard work to do along with maintaining your home. This can be somewhat time-consuming depending on the condition of the home when you buy it. I find that doing yard work is very rewarding. Being able to change how I want my house to look is a big bonus. For example, I can change the paint color. If I want to I can totally change my landscaping. Try that in an apartment.
Options. Now you have decided to take the plunge, what do you want for a house? Do you want a new one or an existing home? How many bedrooms do you want? What about bathrooms? Do you require a huge yard for the kids and a dog or would you rather have a small one that is easy to maintain? What about a basement and a family room? First, make a list about what you have to have. Then you make a list about what would be nice to have. That way when you look, you can be flexible in your purchase. I found that my list kept me focused on what I had to have so I did not over spend on the mortgage.
Mortgage. Get pre-approved so that when you are ready to make an offer on a house, you are prepared. At the same time you can find out about the different types of mortgages. Do not be afraid to ask questions. The more informed you are about the financing, the better the decision you can make. Information is your best friend in this process. I found that out the hard way. I got talked into an ARM when I wanted a fixed mortgage and it cost me a lot of interest. Research your options at banks and also online. Be informed before you ever get a loan.
Trustworthy Real Estate Agent. The next thing you need to do is find a really good real estate agent to help make offers and to show you homes. A real estate agent is very knowledgeable about pricing and the current market. You can look at homes online to see if you like them first before you ever go look. It also pays to drive the neighborhoods you would like to live in. This is how I found my first house. I was out driving and there it was. It had even been listed yet, but I called my realtor and found out that it was available. I was the first one to make an offer.
These are the most important things I encountered when I bought my first house. I especially wish I would have planned for the expenses that I had not even thought of. I was focusing just on the mortgage payment. I also did not get the financing I wanted at first. It worked out for me but I wonder how many people get in over their heads from the start. I hope this will help get you into your first home. There is no better feeling than when they hand you the keys at the closing.