Buying your first home is exciting but most don't know where to start or how the process works.
Five things to consider before you buy
1. Qualifying for a mortgage
Before you start shopping it is a good idea to choose a lender and find out how much they will lend you towards the purchase. You may think you can afford more than they are actually willing to lend once they factor in things like debt, how long you have been at your current job, etc.
2. How much can you actually afford
Even after that bank pre-approves you for a loan you will need to look at the house's total cost, not just the monthly payment. Determine how much you will put for a down payment, how high the property taxes are, how much it will cost to maintain the property throughout the year, what will it cost to insure the property, do you want cable and internet, are heating and electricity included or is that a separate expense, and roughly how much closing costs will be.
3. The types of homes and what best suits your needs
Your options are single family, townhouse, condo, and multi-family units such as a duplex, triplex, or fourplex. Depending on your lifestyle and goals each has pros and cons. You will need to figure out what best suits your long term goals. You will also need to decide if you want a fixer upper to save on the purchase price or if you want it move in ready where you have no fixing up to do or limited fixing up to do. Keep in mind how much renovations cost and how long they will take to achieve when making your decision.
4. What are must have features and what can you live without
Depending on what you were qualified for and how much your down payment is will help you determine what features you must have or what you could live without. The more you can afford the more you will be able to keep on your must have list. Your list should include things like what area do you want to live in, what size of home, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, do you want granite countertops, what direction do you want the home facing, and so much more.
5. How will you find your home
A real estate agent will help you find your home and help guide you through the home buying process. It is important to find an agent that you feel comfortable with and listens to all your needs and wants. A good real estate agent's expertise can protect you from any pitfalls you may encounter throughout the process.