1. Do Your Research for Financing – Before you buy a house you need to look into all available options for financing your new home. There are numerous grants and other sources of funding that may be available to you. There are many different options based on profession, for example if you are a teacher you may qualify for a grant that is catered for teachers.
Farmers fall under another category that can bring in money for their home or land purchases. The area of the potential house, whether it’s in a rural area, high-poverty area, etc. may also offer grants. So it is in your best interest to research all the grants and funding options you are eligible for before you automatically decide you won’t qualify for anything.
2. Know What You’re Getting Into – Look at all the expenses that can affect how much you’ll end up paying. The cost of a home doesn’t just stop at the price of the mortgage. Things like taxes, insurance, utilities, maintaining your house and property, HOA fees, cost of commuting and the list goes on.
Will the gas budget for your car go up if you are moving further away from the places you frequently visit? Budget all of these expenses and see if you can still afford the house. So you’ll have to do your research and learn as much as you can about the property. To help with your research you can call utility companies that service the area you are considering and request an estimate of what the service will cost.
3. Make a list of items to check: Make a checklist and break it down into your essential items, must have items, and nice to have items. Doing this will better help you keep your emotions set aside when buying a home. I know setting your emotions aside is easier said than done but having a pre-made checklist will make a huge difference on how much you pay and the kind of house you end up buying.
Print out your checklist and every time you visit a house, take the checklist along with you; take photographs so you can cross each item off your list. If you find a house you like and you realize that the house has none of your must haves items, it will at least make you pause and think about reconsidering.
4. Learn About the Neighborhood: It’s a good idea to drive through the neighborhood or ask around about the area where you might be buying to see the demographics of the neighborhood. Keep in mind that if you are buying a house in a neighborhood that have a lot of rentals it could potentially bring down the value of your property.
It only takes a few bad tenants or landlords to drive the neighborhood down fast. You have to think about how you and your family will fit into the community. If the neighborhood was full of single people is this something you would want for your kids?
5. Think Long Term and Think Resale: Unless you know for sure that the next house you buy is absolutely the last house you’ll ever buy then you should be thinking about the long term resale value of the property. Things to consider for the long term is how much you planning on expanding your family. It wouldn’t make sense to buy a two bedroom house if you’re planning on having four kids. Nowadays more and more people are caring for their elderly parents and may need that extra space.
You might be planning to live in your first home for only a few years. In that case, who is your target audience when it comes time to sell the house? If you buy a house in a very bad school district or a house on a very busy street, when you are ready to sell the house, most families with children will be out of your list of potential buyers.
6. Read the Fine Print: Be sure to read over the contract thoroughly before signing it. For most of us buying a house will probably be the single most expensive thing we’ll ever purchase so it’s important to understand the terms of the contract so that you don’t end up getting screwed over down the road.
If you don’t understand any of the terms, ask your mortgage broker and your real estate agent. If they don’t want to explain the terms to you so that you understand them clearly then don’t hesitate to get rid of them and find a professional that’s willing to assist you.
9. All the Old Advice About Buying a Home is True. Things you should keep in mind is to have an emergency fund, save for a 20 percent down payment, try to build a better credit score and history, and don’t buy more house than you can afford.
10. If you like the view, buy it: Buy the House, Not the View: If you buy a house solely based on the view you might want to put into consideration that the view could be gone one day. If there is any land between the property and the view it is possible that a new development could pop up ruining your view. Now obviously most waterfront properties depending on how close you are to the water is pretty much safe from the view being blocked.