Purchasing a home is a major investment, and you need to know that you’re fully prepared before you make the jump into homeownership.
Here are five things you need to ask yourself before you start looking for your future home.
1. How long will I live here?
If you won’t be in an area for very long or are unsure about how long you’d like to stay, it might be in your best interest to rent instead of buying. Buying a home is a long-term commitment (a 30-year mortgage is no joke), so you need to know that you’ll want to stay put after you buy.
2. How much can I afford to spend on a home?
This is the most important thing to consider before you start your search. Total home costs include more than just the sale price of the property. You have to add in closing costs, maintenance, major repairs, insurance, and more. Before you even start to look at homes, meet with a lender to see how much you can actually afford to spend. In addition to letting you know where your limit is, it shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer.
3. How much upkeep do I want to do?
Are you looking for a home with a yard or a condo with a maintenance crew? Before you can start searching for your perfect property, you need to have an idea of the type of property you want to live in. What type of property you choose will also impact how much you have to spend on maintenance. While you might not have to buy a lawnmower for your new condo, you will have to pay fees that help cover the cost of the maintenance that you won’t have to do.
4. Where do I want to live?
People choose to live in certain locations for a variety of reasons. Some want to be closer to work, some want to be closer to the places they like to hang out, some want to be near family, and some just want the best bang for their buck. You’ll have to decide whether your prefer cities, suburbs, or rural environments and how important location really is to you and your family. Depending on your market, you might have to be a little flexible about location, but having your ideal location in mind will help you start your home search in the right spot.
5. Do I want to put a lot of work into a home?
Older homes typically require more work and upkeep, and if you’re considering purchasing one, you need to be prepared for the work that you’ll have to do. Newer homes have their problems, too, but older homes typically mean older HVAC systems, roofs, foundations, and more. Keep potential repairs in mind when you’re deciding between a newer home and an older one.
These are only a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before you start your real estate journey, but they’ll give you a good idea of whether you’re ready to start or if you need more time. If you think that you might be jumping into homeownership a little prematurely, it’s better to wait before you buy. If you know the answers to all of the above questions and feel confident about your decision, you’re probably ready to start your home search.