After many years of saving, you may be ready to invest in your very first home. This is a big decision, and this is also a very big investment from a financial standpoint. To ensure that you’re getting what you want out of your purchase there’s a good deal of research and thought that goes into this process. We’re here to provide you with some basics of selecting your first home. Think of this as the perfect place to start your search for your dream home.
Conducting Home Research
As you start your search, there are a few things to consider. For one, think about the area where you want to live. You may not have kids yet, but thinking about the school district where you’re going to be moving into will save you the stress later on. Studying the taxes of an area can also help you make a smart financial decision. Crime may be something you need to take into consideration, depending on what area of the country you live in. While one neighborhood may look nice, it could be situated directly near an area that is known for high levels of crime. Check the area for stores, hospitals, medical offices, pharmacies, and the distance from your work.
Types of Homes
The style and type of home that you choose will depend largely on your tastes. The most basic decision that you’ll need to make is whether you want a one-story home, or if you would be more comfortable in a home that has multiple levels. This is completely a matter of preference. Having one story is extremely convenient. You won’t have to worry about going up and down the stairs all day. You’ll usually have a laundry room on the first floor, and this is a style of home that you can live in well into your senior years. A two-story home allows you to keep the bedrooms separate from the rest of the living areas of the home. The privacy is nice if you have kids.
Determining Your Selection Criteria
As you start to look through current real estate listings in your area, you may need to have certain criteria figured out. You may have to select a certain price point. You may also want to have thought about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that your home needs to have. The size of the garage, whether or not there’s a basement and the size of the backyard also are important things to take into consideration. If you’re looking through an online search, you can usually select things like the zip codes where you want to look, school districts, whether or not a pool is included, single family dwelling vs. multiple units, etc.
Must-Haves vs. Nice-to-Haves
Think about what you absolutely must have in your first home. Everybody cares about different things, and not one set of preferences is better than the other. Do you want a big backyard with a fence for your dog to run in? Maybe your yard isn’t as important as the size of your patio so you can entertain your friends. The style of kitchen in a home, the size of the bathtub or the master bedroom may all be main focuses for you. Just be sure to discern between what you must have, and what you think would be nice to have. If you don’t get everything, that’s ok. You may be able to make some changes to the home later on.
Determining Your Budget
One of the most important things to consider when buying your first home is your budget. If you’re going to be obtaining a mortgage from a bank, you need to keep in mind that banks often approve you for more than you should really be spending. While you may be able to make those payments right now, any major change in your financial situation could be the difference between keeping your home or selling it. Figure out what you make each month, what your monthly expenses are when it comes to cell phone service, cable television, vehicle maintenance, groceries, etc. Even with a mortgage payment, you should still be able to put aside some money into your savings account. Don’t live beyond your means if you want to be financially secure after buying a home for the first time.
Real Estate Agents: Pros and Cons
The internet makes it pretty easy to look for a home these days, but there are certain benefits that come with utilizing a real estate agent. If you’re busy, they can do most of the searching for you. They’ll let you know when they’ve found something that fits your criteria. An agent will also have the upper hand when it comes to brand new listings. They may even be able to let you know about a home that’s going to be going up for sale before other people know. The only down side, is that you may have to pay your agent for the services that they’re providing you. The seller of the home you choose may have an agent as well, and that agent would have to split the fee with your agent. This can be something that other agents might not be happy with.
Taking your time with the process of choosing your first home can eliminate a great deal of stress. If you’re really feeling confused and overwhelmed, then it might be time to talk to an agent or real estate professional that can shed some light on the situation that you’re in. Plenty of people have gone through the process of choosing their first home, and it can easily be done if you understand the process.