Buying a home can be overwhelming, to say the least. A home can be your largest investment and place of security for you and your family. You want it to check all of the boxes on your wish-list, but can it be done? With this guideline, you can be on your way to finding your perfect home!
Make a List of Must-Haves
One of the first things you must do is narrow down your options. You can do this by creating a list of the items you MUST have! Imagine yourself living in a home. Do you want enough rooms for each person in your family plus a guest room, or are you downsizing? If what you’re currently living with is not enough, then look into increasing the amount of square footage and where it’s needed. This could be bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Make note if you would love to have a pool or a large yard as well. Create a section on your list if you’d like certain characteristics, but they aren’t deal breakers.
Know Your Budget
Talk to a lender before starting your search to determine how much you will be able to afford each month. We’ve all been there – saw an amazing car or outfit and went out looking for it only to learn that it’s out of our price range. Once you have an estimate of the max you can spend, take caution when looking at homes in your price range. It may be in the budget, but if it needs some work, it could ultimately put you way over.
Be Realistic with Size
A bigger home may sound ideal, but be realistic about the size. Many families don’t eat in the outdated “formal” dining room or have separate living and family rooms. Adding on extra square footage can quickly hike up the time you spend cleaning as well as your mortgage and utility bills. Keep in mind, it’s going to cost a lot more in the summer to cool that home with two extra bedrooms and cathedral ceilings! Use this guide to estimate a home’s utility cost.
Willing to Do Some Work?
This point is important. Do you want a turn-key ready home, or are you willing to put in some work? Cost can come into play for either option. You may think you’re saving a ton on a fixer-upper when in reality you could end up spending the same amount or more than it would have cost you to buy an updated home. If you choose a home that needs some work, you’ll need some additional homeowners coverage. Learn how your homeowners insurance can help cover your remodel!
Do Your Research!
To avoid paying too much for a home, look at what similar homes in the neighborhood have sold for. Go by the home during rush-hour and on the weekends to see how traffic changes, figure out which school district it’s in, and the location of any shopping areas you’d like nearby.
The most important thing to keep in mind: Be realistic in every aspect! An older home may be less expensive but needs work and could affect your homeowners insurance rates. Don’t rush anything and enjoy the process of starting a new chapter in your life!
Looking to ensure a new home? A Lighthouse agent can help!