The home buying process is both exciting and nerve-racking. You want to become a homeowner, but you want everything to go smoothly and you certainly don’t want to make a mistake. There are certain things you should do while in the process of buying a home.
Analyze your finances
Track your spending for a couple of months. This will give you a good idea of what you make and where all of your money is going throughout the month. After figuring out where you end up at the end of the month, are you comfortable with taking on more expense for homeownership? Better yet, are you able to afford it?
Know what you can afford
Before you start searching for your home, get pre approved. This will tell you how much you are able to spend on a home. Consider principal, interest, private mortgage insurance (PMI), and homeowners insurance, but also factor in utilities, commuting, and maintenance. You will get a better idea of what it will actually cost to buy a home. PMI will be tacked onto your mortgage if your down payment is less than 20%.
Have a list of what you NEED
During the home buying process, have a list of things you need in your home. If the homes you visit don’t have any, or at least most, of the things on your list, you can probably move onto the next one. This will make it easier to turn down a home that looks nice but doesn’t have anything you are looking for.
If you buy a home with the plan to sell in a few years or less, who will you target buyer be? Does the neighborhood have young families with little kids? If you plan on starting a family soon, you may want to look at school districts and neighborhoods as well as the house and its features.
Stay open minded
You made an offer on a house and order the home inspection. Turns out the house will need a new roof in a couple of years. A new roof can cost thousands of dollars, and if you are not planning on keeping the house for more than 10 years, it probably isn’t worth the expense. It would probably make more sense to back out.
Work closing costs into the offer
If you had a hard time coming up with the down payment and didn’t factor in closing costs, you may be in for a surprise. Closing costs can add up to 2% to 5% of the mortgage. If you aren’t able to come up with the extra money for closing, you can write the offer so the sellers have the option to pay for closing. I say the option because they could easily reject that and counter offer with you having to pay for closing costs.
Buying a home is an exciting and challenging process. If you know what you want, you know what you can afford, and you have your finances in order, it will make it that much easier. It also helps to have the right people on your side, so the last piece of advice, hire a good mortgage broker or real estate agent.