Buying a home is one of the biggest investments one can make in their lives. It requires a lot of planning, hard work, and research to make the right decision on where to live, and set down roots. Not only does it take a significant amount of time to research and plan, but it also takes a great deal of money to properly plan for having a down payment on a house.
While buying a home might be a good investment for you, there are important things to consider before you purchase your first home.
Here is a list of 3 things you should consider before purchasing your first home:
Location, Location, Location
Location is key when it comes to searching for a home. A home, ideally, is a place you will be spending a lot of time in and also set down some sort of roots. If you are thinking of having a family, you will want a home nearby a good school district, and also make sure the neighborhood is safe. Conversely, some young people might want bars, restaurants and nightlife in their neighborhood, while other folks wanting to start a family may be searching for something that is family-friendly and safe.
It all comes down to priorities. Whatever your priorities are, be sure to keep those in mind and let them drive the decision making process. Homeownership is more permanent than renting so don't rush the process. It's important to be clear about what you want out of a home and a neighborhood -- your home is an extension of your life, so how do you want to live?
While many people consider their down payment and mortgage payments as the primary costs of owning a home, there are many other costs associated with owning home. Before making a purchase, it's important to consider the cost of private mortgage insurance, homeowner's insurance, property taxes (which can be quite expensive), utilities, maintenance, HOA fees, and life insurance to cover all fees associated with owning a home. In addition, depending on the condition of the house, there may be repair costs to get the house in livable condition or up to code. Potential repair costs can wreak havoc on any budget, yet it's a common expense many homeowners overlook.
The beauty of owning your home is that it is yours -- the downside is that if something happens, you need to manage the issues yourself which can take up a lot of resources, both financially and emotionally. It's key to consider every single cost that comes along with homeownership. Homeownership is not a simple, or cheap process, so it behooves you to do your research and ensure you are informed about everything that goes into being a homeowner.
Realities of Living There
When searching for a home, it can be easy to fall in love with your "dream home." Except that you are still in the honeymoon phase and are seeing things how you want to see them. For this reason, it's important to speak with neighbors in the area about the realities of living there. Is the house built on a solid foundation? Is the neighborhood safe at night? Is there ample parking available? Is it near public transportation? What is the demographic of people in the neighborhood?
It's easy to get seduced by dreams of homeownership, however it's key to stay realistic about costs, safety, and the realities of living in that house and in that neighborhood.
While having a roof over your head is a necessity, homeownership is not something to rush into. There are many expenses and factors to consider before taking the plunge into the world of homeownership. Do your research, talk to people, look for hidden costs and compare several different places before making a final decision. To get started, take a look at the real estate reviews and check out a variety of places to search for homes in your desired area.