Posted 30 Sep, 2019
What to Know When Buying a Home
Buying a home is a huge milestone and a huge investment, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be intimidating. As long as you prepare ahead of time and do your due diligence when it comes to researching and understanding the ins and outs of buying a home, the process can be a rewarding one, and you can avoid any of the potential pitfalls standing in the way of you and your future dream home.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything about your new home will be perfect, or that the process will always be smooth. Whether you are buying a newly built home or a resale property, you can’t guarantee that everything will run smoothly. Even buying a brand new home isn’t necessarily going to be problem-free. There’s no such thing as a perfect home.
But following these 3 tips before you buy your home will help you to avoid some of the most common mistakes that new homebuyers make, and help you find your dream home without it coming back to bite you in the long run.
1. Money matters
The first and most important question to ask yourself, once you feel like you’re ready to buy a home, is how much home you can afford. There are plenty of online calculators that can help you figure this out - but as a rough estimate, it’s a good idea to look for a home with a mortgage that is less than 30% of your gross income. It’s also smart to save 20% of the cost of the home for a downpayment, as well as 10% of the cost in savings as a buffer just in case any of those problems you’re trying to avoid happen to crop up.
Of course, this would be an ideal situation. We might not always be able to save up as much as we want to before investing in a home, but it’s important to be realistic, because there is more to owning a home than just paying the mortgage. You’ll need to factor in fees or maintenance costs that might come up every month, as well as closing costs, for example. Not only that, but you’ll also need to buy new furniture for that new home once you own it, and much more.
2. Hire a real estate agent
Having an experienced real estate agent can make the entire home buying process much easier and more clear-cut. It’s true that, if nothing goes wrong, you could get away with never needing one and saving on the cost of paying a professional, but it’s risky to go into such an expensive purchase without any guidance.
The key to getting your money’s worth, when it comes to hiring a real estate agent, is to make sure you hire the best real estate agent you can find. Don’t just settle for calling the agent listed on the first house that catches your eye, and don’t agree to work with someone without first checking their credentials and their certifications, or without calling their references.
You’re looking for someone to guide you through the process of choosing your home. That’s an incredibly important life decision, and you want to know you can trust them. Consider interviewing at least two different agents, so that you can choose who you like the most, rather than just saying yes or no to one person.
3. Look close before you buy
We’ve all seen those home buying shows on TV, where the couples wander through a property, touching nothing and being awed at the beautiful staging of the homes before falling in love and signing on the dotted line. If only it were that easy.
The reality of living in a home, and of buying one, involves a lot more nitty gritty details, and you shouldn’t shy away from them when you’re viewing your potential dream home. Open closets. Flush toilets. Look inside fridges, stoves, washers, dryers and any other appliances that will be staying with the home. Spend some serious time with what may very well be your new furnace.
You don’t want to buy a home only to discover some unpleasant deal-breaker about it that you didn’t notice in your first gloss over the property. And this includes hiring a home inspector, even if you’re buying a new build. Remember what you learned about finding a quality real estate agent, and get a reputable professional to make sure you know and understand everything about your potential home before you buy.
These are just three simple, straightforward tips to keep in mind when buying a home. You’ve probably heard them, or a variation of them, before. But if you follow through on them, you’ll find your home buying process a much smoother one. Happy house hunting!