Are you Ready to Buy a Home?
It's important to determine what you really want in a home before you even step outside to look at one. Having an idea of what you want will help you narrow your home search to homes that will fit your needs and wants. Simple decisions such as how much you want to spend and how big of a home you want can also save you time and ensure that you aren't looking at homes that aren't really what you want or need.
It's is easy to get carried away with the home buying process and it can become more about comparing kitchen sizes and determining what landscaping changes you would make to the yard, than an important financial decision. People get wrapped up in what they like about a home and envision themselves living in it and walking through its hallways. They begin to forget or brush aside facts like the roof that leaked last year, a new furnace is going to be needed, and the yard is much smaller than they originally wanted.
When home buying it's important to not get attached like this and to be able to step back and determine whether the house really is great or if you are straying far away from the qualities you originally thought were important in a home.
Price is one of the most common factors that people tend to push to the limits. They look at how much more home or how much nicer of a home they can have if they spend a little more money. Lenders often assist in this process by offering large loans that really stretch their clients' checkbooks. Before you stretch and stray from your original plans in this area make sure that you can really live with higher payments and a bigger loan.
Location is very important. If you decide you want a home in the city, be wary of looking at homes out of the city that will increase your commute time, run up more vehicle expenses, and create annoyances such as not being able to order take out or not being able to make quick stops at home during the workday. If you don't like to live in the city then by all means don't place yourself in a city lot or apartment where you are going to feel crowded or annoyed by common city occurrences. You know where you will be most comfortable so don't let realtor's or sellers try to convince you that the location of a home is great for you if it's not really what you had in mind.
You might have only wanted a 1500 sq ft house but yet your Realtor takes you to a 2500 sq ft house and tells you that it's a good deal because its only $50 a sq ft. Soon you become hinged on the fact that this house is a really great deal and that maybe someday you'll be able to make more off of selling it. Now, whoa, if you wanted a house with 1500 sq ft, are you going to be happy in a house that is 1000 sq ft bigger? If you buy a larger house, make sure you can live with higher utilities, taxes, and even expenses such as furniture to "fill" the home. Be sure that if you are going to buy a smaller house than you originally wanted that your family isn't going to outgrow it soon.
Many first time buyers, used to renting, forget about common maintenance work that must be done to maintain homes. Homes in good repair still require regular heating and cooling, roof, and yard maintenance, among other things. Keep this in mind when you set guidelines concerning what kinds of repairs you are willing to deal with yourself. If you are on a tight budget it's a good idea to stay away from homes that will potentially cost you more in repairs than you can afford. If a house is a great deal but you have no extra cash to finish or fix it up, it may turn into a home buying nightmare. Also, if you are considering a fixer-upper, consider whether or not you really are the type. Do you like doing home repairs? Do you even know how to do home repairs? Often times it is not as cheap as people think to have a contractor come in and fix a home. Remember, once you buy a home, you get everything that comes with it, including repairs.
If you ignore how practical a house is for your family you may end up with constant annoyances or problems on a daily basis. For example, if you have young children and decide that you want a single level house, don't stray from your plans and buy a house with an elaborate staircase that can't be blocked off and is a safety hazard. If you don't like to swim or if you have young children, is the pool in the backyard really a bonus? Don't let realtor's or sellers convince you that these "extras" are really what you need. In fact, if they can be labeled extras or bonuses and they weren't in your original plan that's all they really are, extra things to deal with.
You may stray from your original plans and expectations with the purchase of your home, which is fine as long as you keep a realistic outlook on the home purchase. You may find that the square footage you planned to buy would be way too small for your family or that the repairs you thought to be too tedious are really more common than anything. It's simply important to buy a home that compliments your financial situation and personal lifestyle, rather than one that merely complicates them.