The prospect of buying your first home is an exciting one, and it’s one of the most important decisions you make. Because of this, one can get easily overwhelmed when considering options. This is especially true when you consider the rising trend of home buyer’s remorse in younger people.
This often comes down to regrets over poor financial decisions, such as cutting into retirement funds to cover a down payment. Costs of things like home repairs, landscaping, and other “special” homeowner’s bills also contribute to this. All responsibility is on you once you own your home, after all.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Read on for some guidelines to help ensure your first home buying experience is a positive one.
Budget, budget, budget
As already mentioned, costs are the most important factor in determining what kind of experience you have. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying a home is going into the deal with any kind of outstanding debt. Home ownership comes with plenty of surprise costs already, and you don’t need anything else adding on to them.
Make sure you’re debt free before you start seriously thinking about buying a home. In fact, it’s even better to build an emergency fund you can draw from for a few months if it becomes necessary. These things are much easier said than done, but so is owning a home.
There will be a few steps to calculate what you can afford, and you really need to stick to a house that fits within those requirements once you start looking. This may result in having an empty room or two at the start, or maybe not including every luxury you wanted, but you can always improve a house down the line.
If you buy outside your means, you’ll be stuck with the problem. If possible, see if you can afford a 20 percent down payment to avoid paying for private mortgage insurance. While this certainly isn’t mandatory, it can be a good advantage.
This concept doesn’t apply to houses alone. Since it’s very unlikely that you’ll buy a house outright with cash, you want to shop around for lenders to get preapproved for a mortgage.
It’s best to do this with a broker who can help you compare rates for the best deal as well as predict potential problems down the line. Selecting your home and your financing options should be a long process that plans for the future as well as today.
On that note, attending open houses can be a great benefit during your process. You can learn plenty of useful things ranging from tips for home design to learning more about the neighborhood. Examining a desired neighborhood in detail could be a make or break factor in your decision.
Do a proper home inspection
Once you’ve settled on a home that fits your needs, you want to have an inspection to make sure everything is in order. While a real estate agent can almost certainly recommend a licensed inspector, feel free to ask around to find your own. It’s important that you feel convinced an inspector is concerned with your well being instead of just a check.
You’ll, of course, want to attend the inspection yourself as well to ensure all your concerns are addressed. While a licensed inspector should have plenty of knowledge about the general structure of a home, you may also want to get opinions from plumbing services or electricians for an even more in depth look.
No matter how much you may love a house and be anxious to buy it, an absolutely thorough inspection must be performed. The last thing you need is for unexpected repairs to break what’s left of the bank after a purchase.