Owning your own home is a major commitment and big financial responsibility- especially for first time home buyers. It requires a lot of thinking, and before you even go out and start house-hunting there are many things to think about. Consider this a quick guide to get your feet wet in the art of buying a house.
Ask Yourself If You’re Ready
Too often, we fall in the trap of giving in to peer pressure. Perhaps we see our friends buying their own houses, or our parents are insisting that we buy instead of rent (you know how hard that is). However, this shouldn’t be a deciding factor whether you want to buy a house or not. The decision should come from you, after all, it’s you who will be taking a major financial burden and the hassle of setting everything up. Ask yourself first: Am I ready?
‘Ready’ means a lot of different things for different people, and a person’s concept of preparedness is different. However, there are some general rules to keep in mind, and they’re best answered in question form, such as:
Do I Have Any Outstanding Debt?
I think we can all agree that buying a house is expensive. You’ll most likely have to take out a loan to secure everything, so before you go to the bank and ask for a home loan or mortgage, it’s best to clarify whether you have any outstanding debts that can get in your way.
Do I Have an Emergency Fund?
Anything can happen at any given time. When you’re financing your house, it’s best to have an emergency fund so you have something to access when life throws a wrench at your plans. This is one of the things you can probably do without but will do best if you have it.
How Much Can I Afford?
This is where pre-planning really takes importance: knowing how much you can afford is absolutely crucial to your decision-making process. Don’t get emotionally invested in a house or location whose mortgage you can’t afford. Be realistic and you’ll save yourself from a lot of financial trouble and mental anguish.
Location vs. Space
There’s an interesting adage that you might hear in real estate circles that goes “A small space in a good location, or a big space in a bad location”. And you might just find this adage to be true. Most of the time, you’ll find a location that you like but the space of the house isn’t exactly big. The opposite might happen as well, but what’s more important to you gets priority. Perhaps you’re not one for location because you work from home anyway, then it’s wiser to purchase a house with a big living space. However, if you’re a stickler on a good location, then it’s best to look at your options from a certain angle. Is the area near the city? Is it located in a beautiful and safe neighborhood? Will the area develop even further in the future? These are matters to think of when choosing the best location for a long-term stay.
Shop Around and Shop for Your Needs
Before you stamp your foot down in one property, it’s best to have a go around the block and see what others offer. You don’t want to have buyer’s remorse for a house, don’t you? Plus, looking around includes searching for the most appropriate house for you and your needs. You might find a location that you really like, but find the house too small for a family of four. Or perhaps you’ve been eyeing a townhouse that looks nice but found a condominium that’s closer to your work. Shopping around doesn’t just mean looking at the different prices and going for the cheapest one, it’s best to diversify your options, keeping your priorities and needs in mind.
Go to Open Houses
Open houses are a great way to judge whether a property is worth it or not, and as a first-time buyer, you want to be really careful with your decisions. Knowing as much as you can about your prospect will help you find out whether that property will be for you. An open house also lets you give a first-hand look at what the property might be like, whether it’s too old for your taste, or there are damages that you want to avoid. If you’re cramped for time, however, online 3D home tours are becoming a popular way to check out houses for sale.
Buying your own house is a major life milestone. It’s a big step in life, and many people consider owning a property a proper ‘adult’ thing to do. Make sure you’re doing it right.