1. How long are you going to live there?
If you can’t commit to at least two years in one place, buying might not be the best option for you. It costs money to buy and sell a home, if you can’t commit to staying in one place, you might lose money by buying too soon.
If you plan to buy a house and stay put for 30 years, you’ll need to shop for a home that can accommodate your needs of the future as well. Weight your options for the short-term and long-term.
2. What are your top priorities for a house?
Home shopping can be overwhelming if you haven’t narrowed down your priorities. If you’re lucky, you’ll find everything you want, but unless you’re building your own new home, chances are you’ll need to compromise. Some things you might want to consider before jumping in:
- What sized house do you want?
- Which rooms are most important, large kitchen, master bedroom, etc?
- How much work do you want to put in, fixer upper or move-in ready?
- How important is a garage; does it need to be attached?
- Does it need to be handicap accessible?
Have a sense of your “non-negotiable” items and the things that you are comfortable compromising on. Location may even play into this as well (see next question!)
3. What’s the best location for you?
How much of a commute do you want from your home to work? Do you have any hobbies that make certain locations more desirable? Do you want to be near hiking or biking trails? If you have children, does the school district you’re currently in (or desire to be in) play into your decision? And even if you don’t have school-age kids school district is important to consider. Even if you are never sending kids to school, the next buyers might be. When it’s time to sell, being in a good school district can boost your property value.
What type of community do you want to belong to? All of these are questions and thoughts to consider as it relates to the location of your new home.
Bottom line, you need to be comfortable in your new neighborhood. Knowing where you want to be will help you make the right decisions on where to shop.
4. How’s your credit?
Before you buy, you want to have a sense of where your credit is at so you know how much loan you can get. Don’t let your credit score be the surprise that stops you from buying your dream house.
Have you recently made any large purchases that will affect your credit? Your debt to income ratio will be considered, and if you’ve just financed a car, that could hurt your mortgage prospects.
Be sure you understand the loan process. Knowing what you can afford helps prevent you from falling in love with a home that’s out of your price range.
5. Why use a REALTOR®?
It might be tempting to skip the REALTOR® and save yourself some money, but the services a REALTOR provides can end up saving you the money you spend on commission and help to ensure you make the best possible decision with the most up to date market information.
A good REALTOR can help you with everything from loan resources to finding properties not actively being marketed, information on how much to offer and negotiating and alerting you to red flags on properties you might not notice without a trained eye.
Remember, commission for your REALTOR are paid by the selling side when purchasing a home. This means you’re getting personal, experienced representation at no additional cost to you!
We know that buying a home can be a scary first-time venture with a lot of new things to learn. These five questions will give you a good place to get started on the process. A home is a large purchase and an important one for you, take time to consider what’s right for you before you start looking.