Buying your first house can be a daunting task, but in this economy, first-time buyers hold a lot of power. For the first time in a long time, you can drive down your favorite street and pick out a few houses with for sale signs on the lawn and decide you want to see them. Never before have first-time buyers had so many options, which can be both empowering and terrifying at the same time. There are a lot of things to think about when you’re buying your first home, but deciding what is important to you can help you make the right decision.
Location, Location, Location
You may have heard from many real estate agents that the location of your new home is the most important thing to think about, and, in many ways, it’s true. You don’t want to buy a home that’s too far away from your job just because it’s cheaper. If you really like the hustle and bustle of city living, your search will be different than looking in the suburbs or a quiet, rural area. The fact of the matter is that you might have to pay more for a smaller house in a location you really like, if location is important to you. Houses closer to the city or to a downtown area are often smaller, older and more expensive than houses in rural areas. If you need to be near a downtown area for your job, or if you enjoy all the amenities that location offers, you might have to resign yourself to buying a house that isn’t quite as big or cheap as you expected. Similarly, houses that are on busy streets can be cheaper, but that positioning isn’t always ideal, either. Think about backing your car out of your driveway onto a busy street in the morning before work. Also, think about any children or pets you have or plan to have. You wouldn’t want them playing outside on a busy street!
When we look for real estate, many times we look for the biggest piece of property we can find for the least amount of money. This might be a good idea if you want a big house, but you should definitely think about what kind of space you need before you buy. If you’re not planning on having children or you’re only planning on having one or two, a four or five bedroom house is probably unnecessary. However, if you are planning on having children, two bedrooms might not be enough. Before you make a move and buy the biggest house you can get, be sure to consider what you want out of your life. You might also want to consider resale value. Two bedroom homes are more difficult to sell than three or four bedroom homes because your pool of potential buyers is smaller. People looking for two bedroom homes are often retirees looking to downsize. People looking for three or four bedroom homes could be first time buyers, families looking for a bigger space, or young professionals looking to rehab a house.
It is vitally important to have your finances in order even before you start to view houses. It helps to be pre-approved for a mortgage with a credit agency, because then you know what you can spend. This also speeds up the process of putting an offer on a house. It is also recommended that you put between 10% and 20% down on the house, so you need to have that money readily available. Don’t forget to incorporate inspection fees, association fees, closing costs, and taxes into your budget. These can often creep up on you when buying a house, so you don’t want to be caught off guard with hidden costs.