One of the most significant investments in your lifetime, buying a home is a complicated process with a number of factors that go into the decision. In all the excitement of purchasing a home, it’s easy to overlook certain aspects of the process that may play a role in the type of property you purchase.
Before you contact a real estate agent to set up your first meeting, consider these important questions to make sure you’re ready to take on a mortgage.
Know how long you’ll stay
The process of buying and selling a home can be tedious, so it’s important to consider how long you plan to stay in the area before making the investment. For example, if you are likely to get transferred frequently for work or think you may relocate in only a few years, your needs will likely be different than another person who plans to raise a family in a home for many years, or permanently. If you are someone who frequently relocates, consider that selling a home in a volatile housing market can be challenging, and may prevent you from being able to leave your investment in a timely manner.
Determine how much you can afford
Final costs will play a central role in every home buyer’s decision, so take a thorough inventory of your finances. This would include obtaining copies of your credit reports and correcting any issues that may negatively affect a potential mortgage application. In addition, you should decide how large of a down payment you can place on the property, and explore different types of home loans and their respective eligibility requirements. Most experts recommend avoiding loans that account for more than 28 percent of your take-home pay. Don’t forget to factor in closing costs, fees and other relevant home buying expenses.
Pinpoint the neighborhood type that appeals to you
Neighbors, community amenities, and school districts can make a significant difference in a home buyer’s experience, so it’s always a good idea to do some advance research on a neighborhood. You can find out a great deal of factual data about home values, school districts and amenities online, but you can get a better idea of the atmosphere of a neighborhood by speaking with other residents. While considering the type of neighborhood that appeals to you, it is also important to learn about the property taxes in that area. This could also have a significant impact on how much “home” you can afford.