May 18, 2022
Before You Buy a House: 10 Things You Need to Know
Have you been thinking about buying your own home? Whether you want more space than an apartment offers or are tired of paying rent, purchasing a home can be exciting and feel like the right decision. But before you do anything else, make sure that buying your own house is the right move for you to make. Here are ten things you need to know before you buy a home.
How much can you afford?
Before you do anything else, you need to figure out how much you can afford. That might mean crunching some numbers. Don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. First, budget for your mortgage and all other necessary expenses (including taxes, insurance, and maintenance), then multiply that number by four to get an idea of your monthly payments. Now use that number as a cap when shopping around for mortgages and see how many properties you can afford based on that cap.
How much will your monthly payment be?
The first step in understanding how much home you can afford is to figure out your monthly housing costs. This includes mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, homeowner’s association fees, and utilities. The average American household spends about 22% of their income on housing, so aim for a payment amount below that threshold. U.S. households’ median annual household income is $59,039 as of 2016, which translates to an average monthly mortgage payment of $1,260. Plan on living with roommates or family members while saving up for a down payment (more on that later). It might be worth factoring those additional expenses into your budget before deciding what size house you can afford.
Who’s going to be on loan?
Make sure that everyone signing on for a loan can make monthly payments. If there are cosigners, they need to have sufficient income and a long enough credit history. When it comes time to choose your loan, get pre-approved so you know what kinds of loans you’re looking at and how much they cost. Understanding which type of loan you qualify for before starting house hunting is essential.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Before you start house hunting, you must get pre-approved for a mortgage. Getting pre-approved ensures that your lender has taken a close look at your finances and agrees that you can afford a mortgage, which means you can buy confidently. It also allows you to shop around without being bound by one lender’s terms. Plus, getting pre-approved usually takes less time than applying for a loan once you’ve found your dream home.
Take a tour with an agent.
Working with a Massachusetts Realtor is often worth your time, especially if you’re new to home buying. And because most Realtors are familiar with buying and selling homes in your area, they can give you valuable advice on how to get started looking for a house. Many will even create a list of homes in your price range that you might be interested in. If you decide to work with an agent, make sure they don’t try to sell you—it should be more about helping you find what works best for your needs and budget. Reach out to friends who have bought houses: Maybe your friends have already gone through their home-buying process, which means they could provide some invaluable insight into everything from mortgage rates to closing costs. After all, it’s one thing to read about these terms online; it’s another when someone has been there explaining them in plain English. Even better? Ask them what questions you should ask during a meeting with a lender or real estate agent.
Determine your housing needs and wants
Knowing how much space you need will be a big part of your decision. If you’re single and all you want is a place to live, you’ll have different housing needs than someone who has kids and wants space for them to play in. It’s essential to do your research here and ask friends or family who are homeowners for input. Try to determine which neighborhoods in town best fit your needs, both now and in the future. For example, buying a home that can accommodate that growth might make sense if you plan on having children soon. On the other hand, if you think you may move within five years, renting instead of buying a house could be more competent. And finally, don’t forget about costs like taxes and insurance—these should factor into your budget.
Do you want to own or rent?
Before buying a house, you must ask yourself if you’re better off owning or renting. While there are many aspects to consider when deciding which is suitable for you, what matters most is your overall goals and risk tolerance. Buying may be ideal if your goal is long-term growth and stability with less risk. But renting could be for you if your goal is to build wealth as quickly as possible with more flexibility. Either way, don’t forget to factor home maintenance costs (roof repairs) and other ongoing expenses like utilities into your decision-making process. The truth is that owning can cost significantly more than renting in terms of monthly payments (and taxes). However, if you factor in price appreciation over time, it might still make sense to buy over rent—but only after carefully considering all your options.
Start Searching for Houses Online
If you haven’t started looking for houses online, it’s time to do so. It’s never too early to start looking around. Many people start their search by window shopping by using sites like Zillow and Trulia that let you look at available homes in your area. This is a great way to get a feel for what kind of home you can afford. Once you find something that interests you, reach out to an agent who can show you more about it in person. Create A List of Your Must-Haves And Wants: Before you begin your house hunt, creating a list of must-haves and wants for your next home is essential. While there are some features every homeowner will enjoy (like space or high ceilings), you should also consider whether there are certain things that would be deal-breakers if they weren’t included in your new home (like proximity to family). Having a comprehensive list will help narrow down potential options quickly.
Set Up Home Tours and Open Houses
This can be tough if you don’t have a realtor—and you should. But if open houses are nearby, set up home tours and visit as many of them as possible to see how other agents market their homes. If you already have an agent, sit down with them for tips on how they sell homes and target potential buyers. Take notes and mimic what they do so that your home is marketed well when it comes time to put it on the market. Remember, not every tactic will work for every home. Your strategy may differ completely from other sellers in your neighborhood because each house has unique features and selling points. So make sure you’re doing things that make sense for your property.
Have Your Agent Show You Around Homes In Person And On Video
Buying a home is an investment, and you need to protect it. Before you start house hunting, ask your real estate agent to show you homes in person and on video. This will allow you to see details that might not be captured by photos or videos alone. For example, if you’re interested in buying a new construction home, seeing it live will give you more insight into how things are put together. If features aren’t visible outside a house (such as insulation), having your agent take you through these areas can help ensure they were done correctly. Finally, don’t forget to get your eyes checked before starting your search for a new home! Your vision changes over time, so even if you think you have 20/20 vision, your eyesight has worsened since your last eye exam. An optometrist can evaluate any vision changes affecting how you see homes during a viewing.
Topouzis & Associates, P.C. closing attorney offers you the services that ensure title to your home purchase gets conveyed clear of defects—and we also supply purchasers with Owner’s Policies of title insurance, just in case. So contact us if you want your property transfer in Providence, Rhode Island, Boston, Massachusetts, or Miami, Florida to go through without a hitch—both before and after closing.