Purchasing a home is an exciting life leap to take. After years of renting you’ll finally be able to have a property you can call your own.
There are many steps to buy a house, from knowing exactly what you’re looking for to shopping around for the best rates.
There is much to consider. These are some questions you absolutely have to ask yourself to make sure you are ready to become a homeowner.
Why do you want to own a home?
Are you shopping for a home solely so you can check a box of a life to-do list, or do you really want a property you can settle down and invest in?
Check in with yourself and make sure you’re taking steps to home ownership for the right reasons.
A home takes up a lot of time and money, so you must be ready for that. You’ll need to upkeep both the inside and outside of the property and be aware that expenses and problems can easily come out of nowhere.
Maintaining the property welcomes a big financial pay-off down the line if you decide to sell your home, as it creates equity.
Are you at a point in your career and family life that you can settle down somewhere for the long-term? If you are just starting out you may find yourself in a position to relocate due to job opportunities. If that chance arises, are you ok with taking it?
Can you truly afford it?
It goes without saying that the first thing most people think of when shopping for homes is what they can afford. You must be precise in your budget, not have a ballpark idea.
You should look at your debt-to-income ratio, as a good one can help when it comes to shopping for lenders.
Another helpful financial factor is your credit score. A good score goes a long way when it comes to locking in rates and financing.
You will need to make timely monthly payments in addition to the other expenses you have. Is your income consistent enough that you can do that?
Calculate how much you are able to put down for a down payment. Consider having a “rainy day” fund available for when something unexpected comes up.
There is much more to purchasing a home than being able to afford the monthly mortgage payment.
Do you know what you want in your dream home?
Not every home is going to come readily equipped with exactly what you want.
Can you forgo a dream kitchen if the property has a finished basement? Is garage space or yard space more appealing to you?
You will live in your home for years – maybe even decades. Choose something that will feed your present needs, while also thinking about needs that will come up down the line.
Consider not just the house itself but all the factors surrounding it. If you have kids or want to have kids, what is the local school district like?
How far is your commute? Is the neighborhood safe? What amenities are nearby?
Asking these crucial questions will make the home buying process that much easier.