Buying a home is a milestone and a life goal for many people, but it can be expensive and complicated, even for the savviest prospective homeowners. That’s why it’s essential that you educate yourself before you jump into the housing market. From your budget to your neighborhood and the help you hire, buying a home is a process that involves a lot of different choices and considerations, and as with anything, you typically get the quality of help that you pay for.
Even after you move in, new homeowners have a lot of work to do to get their families settled in and comfortable. If you’re house shopping or hoping to be soon, read on to learn more about four things you need to know about buying a new home.
1. Set a reasonable budget.
The first step before you purchase a home is to sit down with a financial advisor or realtor and the other members of your household to discuss your budget. You’ll need to decide how much money you can afford to invest and what you need to save for a down payment before you move forward. A savings goal calculator can be a great tool to help you start planning. Experts generally recommend sticking to a mortgage that is 2 to 2.5 times as large as your gross annual income, though this can vary heavily depending on the interest rate you’re able to obtain and the current market conditions. Making sure you stick to your budget is an essential part of home buying, especially since a mortgage typically takes decades to pay off. It’s always better to be conservative when planning your finances that far in the future.
Especially now, given how uncertain the job market is in the aftermath of COVID-19, it’s also a good idea to have an emergency fund. No one wants to imagine that they’ll lose their job or suffer a drop in their income, but having savings that can help you through a difficult period provides both security and peace of mind for you and your family. Make a savings goal to put away enough money to pay your bills for three months, and work towards even more if you’re able to. There’s never a bad time to start saving money for the future.
2. Make sure you have high-quality expert help.
Hiring the right people to help you is one of the most important ways to ensure you have a good experience with the housing market. Whether it’s your realtor, insurance company, or financial consultant, you need to find professionals who can help you get the best deal on the home you want. Look for companies with a visible public profile and an active presence online, like Venterra Realty, so you can get a thorough overview of all the services and amenities they provide before you even make a phone call to learn more.
You might be wondering if you really need a realtor to purchase a home and whether it’s worth the money you’ll save operating on your own, but unless you have a wealth of experience in the housing market, you’re likely to be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Real estate agents are able to negotiate confidently, take the majority of the work off your plate, and can provide you with answers to all of the questions you will inevitably have about the process of purchasing a new home.
3. Think about property maintenance.
If you intend to do any work on your home, like landscaping or other renovations, you should make sure you know exactly what you’ll need and what to expect before you purchase a home. Equipment and high-quality appliances are especially important for properties with features like farmland or that are in heavily wooded areas that may require occasional tree removal.
Shops like this outdoor power equipment store in Gresham, OR can provide valuable expertise and equipment at a variety of price points. While new appliances and power tools can be pricey, you can often save a lot of money buying used. While you’ll need to make sure you trust the quality of the item and know what condition it’s in, you can often find the perfect outdoor power equipment without having to splurge on purchasing everything brand new at retail price.
4. Learn about public services, like the education system.
If you have a family, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re informed about the schools and other public services in your area. You can often request a tour of local elementary schools and high schools and get a sense of whether the environment is right for your child. For parents who are looking for other options outside the public school system, research what the process is like for private and Catholic high school admissions in the area. While Catholic schools and other private institutions often charge tuition, there are typically scholarships and options available to help low-income students and families.
Schools aren’t the only important feature to look into. Quality of life and cost of living can vary significantly across the United States, and you want to find a community that’s right for you and your family while also offering the safety and affordability that most people expect from the town they live in.
Buying a new home can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, and it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed. If you want to ensure that the home buying process goes smoothly, there’s no replacement for preparation, education, and the help of those with experience in the real estate industry. While expert help costs money, it often pays for itself in what they can save you through their knowledge of the housing market. Remember not to neglect to learn about more than just your home. Loving the area where you live is just as important as loving your house. As long as you’re thorough in your preparation and smart about your budget, you’ll find yourself living in a new home that makes you happy sooner rather than later.