The decision to purchase a home is often considered a life-changing moment. But it’s never as simple as deciding that you’re ready to go, choosing the perfect house, and moving your belongings from one place to the next.
Deciding to move can be quite a process, and dozens of factors affect how things play out along the way.
Fortunately, there are ways to make any move easier. We’ve compiled a guide to help you get started on the right foot.
However urgent your desire to claim your dream home as your own, take time to examine your goals and motives before you hit the real estate market.
1. What are your long-term goals?
Do you plan to have kids? Would you prefer to own a host of pets? Thinking of investing in a home with plenty of property? Ponder the goals you’d most like to achieve in the long run, and consider how a move could put you in a better position to make them happen.
2. What will you need from your new home?
Dig deeper into how a new home will complement your life. Growing families may benefit from a larger home thanks to perks like increased privacy, more play space, and shorter bathroom wait times. You may prefer a property with a garage that can accommodate your household’s vehicles and provide a convenient project space.
Specific factors to consider on this front may include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, interior square footage, the state and layout of the property’s lawn, parking and energy-efficiency measures.
3. What kind of community do you seek?
Your new home itself is only a portion of what that home actually has to offer. There’s also the surrounding community to consider. Parents will likely prefer a home within a reputable school district, and active homeowners may lean toward a quiet neighborhood that’s easy to explore on foot or via bicycle. Explore not only the immediate neighborhood, but also the home’s proximity to stores and other points of interest you may find necessary.
4. What’s your job situation?
Oftentimes, a great community will go hand in hand with a wealth of career options. Select a home in an area with enough viable job opportunities that you won’t have to worry about a shortage. Job availability will change with the times, but don’t launch into a sale unless you’re certain you can find an area with high demand for your skill sets.
5. How’s your credit?
Mortgages are a common type of installment loan. Like most other types of loans, your credit scores play a major role in the interest rates you end up paying throughout the span of your mortgage. Choosing to buy a home before improving your credit scores may not be the right move if you’d prefer to minimize the price you’re paying for the home over time.
6. Are you ready for a down payment?
You’re almost certainly going to have (or want) to pay a several-thousand-dollar down payment for your home.
It’s seldom simple to save this much money. That’s not to say there aren’t ways to minimize what you’ll pay up front, but you should be ready and willing to shell out a down payment if you think it’s a good time to move. Voluntarily paying a larger down payment can be beneficial in the long run, as it can help reduce your monthly payments.
Not sure where to begin? Several savings options give high returns without requiring a huge initial deposit. Certain online-only savings accounts, for example, offer accessible savings accounts with interest rates that are far higher than those available through brick-and-mortar institutions.
7. Have you considered additional expenses?
A home’s face value can seem sky high as it is, and it’s not the only thing you’ll be paying for as a new homeowner. The home-buying process tends to involve numerous fees and expenses worth looking into before you make any concrete decisions.
Plus, once you’ve bought the home, you’ll have to deal with a host of expenses that you may not have come across in previous living situations. These can span from roof repairs to lawn maintenance and beyond.
Enjoy the search, but proceed with caution.
The search for a new home is a monumental step forward. It can be daunting, but the proper preparation can help make the process that much smoother.
Simply take the time to create a full plan of action and consider these points before charging into what may be your life’s most significant investment.