Before you jump into home buying, there are several important things you need to consider. Learning more about the process will give you the tools you need to make an informed decision that ultimately lands you the best deal possible. Here are 5 things to know when in the market for a new home.
5. What a Home Really Costs
Image via Flickr by Alan Cleaver
Before you jump into buying a home, make sure you understand what it really costs. You should save up enough for a sizable down payment, usually between 5 and 20 percent of the home's total cost. As the buyer, you may also need to pay for the inspection, appraisal, closing costs, and other fees.
If you don't have a large chunk of cash ready for the investment, you may need to spend some more time saving up some funds. Once you own the home, you're also responsible for things like property taxes and homeowner's insurance. Use online sites to find out what this will cost.
4. Whether You're Approved for a Home Loan
Before you fall in love with your dream home, you should apply for a home loan to find out whether you're approved and what your interest rate looks like. If you can't get a good loan, it's worth waiting awhile to improve your credit score. Paying down credit and resolving outstanding debts will have a big impact. You should also get a copy of your credit score and make sure the information is correct.
3. What the Neighborhoods are Like in Your Area
A home is a long-term commitment to a certain neighborhood. Get to know different areas as intimately as possible. Visit the house at different times of the day and night. Read the local paper. Visit the library, post office, grocery store, and mall that you would frequent in that area. Learn about the schools. Go to local events.
Detailed crime reports are also available online as well to aid in your research. Learn everything you can so there are no surprises after you move in. The last thing you want to do is to unknowingly move into a rotten area.
2. What Other Homes Are Selling For
Start looking at the market as soon as you begin thinking about buying a home. See what other homes in the area are selling for. Look at homes that are now listed, as well as those that have recently sold. Compare homes with features similar to what you're looking for. This knowledge is a great bargaining tool when it's time to make an offer.
1. What You Can Change and What You're Stuck With
When you own a home, you have a lot of flexibility as far as cosmetic changes. An ugly paint color on the walls isn't a deal breaker because it's easy to paint over. An in-ground pool is a bigger problem.
If you're considering a major remodeling job, talk to a professional to find out if the job can really be done and how much it will cost. Awkward features may exist for a reason and certain structural features could make your renovations impossible.
These important considerations will help you decide whether it's the right time for a new home and whether the house you're looking at is really the right one for you. When the time and the home are right, you'll have an unbeatable combination.
Joe Fortunato is a freelance writer from Tampa, Florida. He enjoys learning about new subjects, following his Baltimore Orioles, and traveling the country for fishing. You can find Joe on Twitter at @joey_fort.