Buying a house is an achievement that is very important to a lot of people. In fact, a lot of people would consider owning a house as part of the American dream. Irrespective of if you prefer a modernized urban loft or a sprawling suburban home, a lot of people will like to find a house that meets their taste and need.
The process involved in purchasing a house that suits the need and taste of a particular individual can be quite a daunting one. This is because it involves a lot of variables such as the legal and financial aspects of the deal and an extensive knowledge and research in order to make an informed decision.
The real estate market in the United States of America is a very large one. According to property wire, the total value of households in the US grew by $1.1 trillion in 2015 and is currently worth over $28.5 trillion. Each state in America has unique rules, regulations and taxes that govern the buying and selling of houses.
Before you even think about purchasing a house, you should make sure that you really need it. Some people see paying rent as a waste of money, yet it may be best suited for some individuals. For example, if you are in a line of work that involves constant transfers, then buying a house now may not be such a good idea. Also, owning your own house would imply that you will have to start paying a home owners association due, a condo due, property tax, insurance payment, utility payment which will be different if you are to own the house, among other payments. Do not be in a haste to purchase a house because, if you make a mistake, you will be stuck with it for quite some time.
Whenever someone wants to purchase a house, it is expected that friends and family members will all have their opinions and advice which they will freely dole out. Though these advises are well intentioned, but they may not always be accurate. Family and friends who have bought only one house in their life time will rarely have enough details of today’s home buying process. Furthermore, the tips that worked for them in the past may not be applicable in today’s market, therefore it is always necessary to do your own research and find out the way things are supposed to be done. Here are ten helpful things to consider before you make a payment on any house.
Table of Content
- Things to Consider Before You Buy a House
Things to Consider Before You Buy a House
Ascertain if you can buy a house
The first thing to consider when looking for a house is to ascertain if you can afford to buy a house. Granted, if you have the money to buy the house, then this part will not be so important to you. For the vast majority of folks, they do not have the finances right there to pay for the house so, it will be very necessary to have a financial partner. A financial partner is someone who will help to invest in the house with you or banks that provide home loans. So you will first need to apply for a mortgage. When you apply for a mortgage, you will then know what is available and what kind of house you will be able to purchase. Generally you will get pre-approved to borrow a certain amount of money. Once you are done with this, you will now have a sense of how much you can borrow- that is, how much the bank is willing to invest in your new home as your mortgage. Now, you will have a real sense of what you can purchase if you are to go house hunting.
You should also consider your loan approval numbers and the down payment options that are available for you to use. You mortgage approval numbers will help to tell you the amount of money that you will be putting down as a down payment. Usually, this is around 20 percent but it may also vary for some government FHA loans and individual deals made by sellers. In the event that you find a house that does not meet your financial requirement in the sense that it is above your loan pre-approval limit or you cannot afford to pay the 20 percent cash down payment, then you can know that the house is not for you no matter how well you may think the house is suited for your needs.
You should consider the cost that you will be making too. Try as much as possible not to stretch yourself to the fringes of your budget. This is because there may be other costs that have to be considered apart from the monthly mortgage payment. You should also consider local taxes, monthly utility costs and association fees when buying a house.
2. The size of the home you need
It is never advisable to purchase a house that has more space than you need (that is, after taking increase in family size into consideration). A bigger house implicitly means that you will have to pay more utility bills and ultimately spend more on maintenance of the structure. You will need to figure out what is right for you and your family and the space that will be comfortable for you. If the house is too small, it will result in discomfort and continually trying to configure the available space to make it work. You can use the places you have lived before to gauge on what amount of space you will need by cross-referencing the amount of space that your belongings require. If you discover that the homes that are currently available are too big for your need, you can consider looking at condos and townhomes.
3. Discoveries of the home inspector
Even though the services of a home inspector will cost you money, you will come to discover in the long run that money spent on home inspection is money well spent. This is because home inspectors usually uncover some serious problems that a house may have such as a faulty foundation, rot, pest issues, out of date wiring, leaky roof, mold et al. Knowing about the issues that are inherent in the house you would like to purchase will help you to make an informed decision about the house. You can negotiate with the seller to repair the damages that you find out about the house before you make payments. Alternatively, the seller can reduce the price of the property to the tune of the amount that is needed to fix it.
4. The state of the neighborhood
It is good to always have it at the back of your mind that your house does not exist on its own, it is part of a much larger community that you will have to face on a daily basis should you decide to buy the house. Before you pay for a house, you should take a walk around that neighborhood. You should take note of the general visage of the neighborhood, how do the yards look like and what is going on there? Does the neighborhood look refined or just rundown, unkempt and cheesy? You should also consider the crime rate and the price of similar houses in area as a possible indictor of the right price for the house.
5. The age of the property and its appliances
When you are considering buying a house, especially one where you intend to spend a large portion of your life in, age makes a huge difference. Granted, buying older or newer houses both have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages, but you should make sure that you are aware of what you are signing up for before you even make a payment. In general older homes need a lot more maintenance than newer ones.
Furthermore, the appliances that make up a home represent a chunk of the expensive portion of the house. That a house is old does not excuse the presence of old, outdated or dilapidated appliances. Generally, it is believed that if an appliance has exceeded ten years of active usage, then is due for replacement. This is applicable to ovens, refrigerators at al. also; it is advisable that you ask the seller to tell you explicitly if these appliances will be staying after you have bought the house. This is because some sellers can be cryptic and ambiguous about this only to cart away their appliances after you have bought the house or tell you to make additional payments in order to get them.
6. Lot location
When purchasing a property, a lot of people do not really take its size or location of the lot into consideration. In fact, they feel that it does not matter much but the truth still remains that it is really important. This is partly because a lot is one of the features of a house that is very difficult to alter. Even if you renovate the house, there is still a high chance that the lot will still remain the same. When looking to buy a house, consider the size and location of the lot before you make an offer. You should ask yourself if the back yard is big enough for kids to run around and play. If the lot has a view that you will consider enjoyable in years to come. If you notice things about the lot that does not go down well with you, simply walk away from the property.
7. The ideal home style
What the house looks like is the very first thing you (and others) will notice about your house, so it is necessary to find a style or design that is agreeable with your sense of aesthetics. Single homes provide the freedom to customize a property to exact taste. Condo living is for people who want to own their own home and still have access to hotel style amenities. Town home living offers a compromise between the two. Once you have a mental picture of the style of living that you would want to go for, zero in on the aesthetics.
8. The potential for future
Even if you purchase your dream house, you may still find out that it may be in need of customization now or when you have lived in the house for some time. Such customizations may be a larger kitchen, a media room et al. It is good to keep an eye out for how much customization and retouching that will be needed in a property. Tell yourself the truth about how much amount of work is required and if you will be able to afford the additional amount for it even if you are taking it in little bits.
9. Comfortable compromise
As important as it is to be aware of what you would love to find in your dream home, you should note that there may be things that may make a particular house difficult to live in for you. For instance, if you totally hate the idea of spending your weekends doing extensive pool repairs and cleaning then you should be wary of a property that has a swimming pool, even if you love the rest of the house. Almost every house on the market will come at a compromise but you should make sure that such a compromise is minimal at best.
10. Proximity to work and school
Before you purchase a house, you should make sure that it is not too far from your place of work and has nearby schools as well. Also, nearness to a public transportation stop is a big plus. Go through the routes that lead to the house and see how busy they are for yourself.
Everyone desires to have their very own dream home. With the right amount of research, you can find something you would like that is also within your budget. If you want to purchase a new house, you should have the considerations above as pointers to help you make the right choice. Make use of seasoned professional all the way to get the best results. Also, when making decisions about house purchase use your head and not your heart. Feel free to walk away if the deal does not meet up to your expectation.