Buying a first home is an important and gratifying milestone, opening up a world of new possibilities, choices, and considerations. Although it’s natural to be ruled by emotion when making such an exciting decision, let your more logical head prevail—and follow these tips as you explore the market.
Make a Practical Wish List
Everybody has an idea what they want in and from their first home. Don’t try to keep all of your dreams in your head—take the time to write down your wish list, and go one step further by separating it into “must have” and “nice to have” columns. When you look through a house for the first time, you might fall in love with its architecture, layout, or any other features, but if it lacks the things you’ve determined you need most, you should hesitate on making an offer.
Understand The Market
A home’s price isn’t set solely by its own characteristics—the area surrounding it plays a huge part. Speak with your broker about comparable properties in the area to learn what they sold for and when. This will help you know what you should expect to offer and what you might expect in terms of how the market is trending.
Budget For All Expenses
While the transaction itself comes down to principal, interest, taxes, fees, and insurance, you will have several other line items to look at when you budget for your new home. Will you be paying more for utilities? Are there upgrades or fixes you will need to make in the near future? Does the distance change the cost of your job commute or travel to other places you currently frequent? These questions and others not only affect your plans for how you live after you own the home, but may also affect the offer you choose to make to the seller.
Read Every Document
There’s a great deal of paperwork that comes with any home purchase, and while your broker will be able to help you interpret what each contract or other document means for you, be sure to give them each a close look. If you’re purchasing a condo, know all of the building rules and read as many meeting minutes as are provided; if your house is part of a homeowner’s association be aware of every statute. The last thing you want to discover after you’ve bought a home is that the environment that doesn’t suit your lifestyle.
Think Long Term
When you purchase your first home it might seem odd to think about selling it in the future, but this should absolutely inform your decision. Even if your current plan is to settle into this home for several years, you should factor in the possibility that you might have to sell and move elsewhere due to other life changes. A house isn’t simply your home, it’s your largest investment, which means you should be imagining how that investment will mature.
Having a strategy before you look for your first home gives you more control over the process. When you partner with a Dream Town realtor, you’ll be able to enhance that strategy with their expertise, tools, and resources, which gives you peace of mind that the home you’ve found is exactly the one you wanted.