Are You Ready For Home Ownership?
Home ownership is fun, exciting, and something many of us have always dreamed about! However, if it's not done properly, it can quickly become a curse instead of a blessing. To ensure your home purchase is the satisfying experience it was meant to be, it always pays off to ensure that you are mentally and financially prepared for the responsibilities that come with it.
Many people consider home ownership to be like renting, but with the power to have your own pets and paint the walls any color you choose. However, while these privileges are available to homeowners in most cities, they come with the responsibilities of paying a mortgage, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and home maintenance. Taking stock of your finances and your expectations prior to beginning the process of looking at houses can potentially save a buyer a lot of hassle and heart ache. It's best to be 100% qualified before starting your house hunt.
Questions for Prospective Homeowners
Are you ready to buy?
Owning a home of your own is about more than just having a pet or being able to decorate any way you like; it's about being prepared to maintain your home over the years, realizing that part of your income and time will go towards repairs and maintenance. Home ownership is about being willing to take the risks of home ownership while maintaining realistic expectation of the rewards.
How much can you afford?
Some buyers find it discouraging when their salary won't stretch as far as the home they want to own. However, sacrificing a huge part of your income just to pay the mortgage can very quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a point of pride. It's better to buy a modest home now and look at purchasing your "dream home" in a few years. I like to apply Dave Ramsey's principles of home ownership and keep a mortgage payment around 35% of your take home pay.
What is your debt-to-income ratio?
This is something that lenders take very seriously. Your overall debt should not be more than 40% of your income, and your housing debt should not be more than 32%. What 32% of your income will buy depends on where you want to live. In rural or downtrodden areas for example, it can buy a very comfortable residence and ample acreage. In highly sought-after urban areas however, it may not even buy a 400 square foot bachelor suite.
What kind of home do you want?
Do you look forward to rehabbing a fixer-upper? Do you shudder at the prospect of yard work? Maybe you would simply rather just pay a fee every month and have it all taken care of? Would adhering to rules about when your garbage cans are allowed to be on the street bother you, or do you want to live in a neighborhood where everything is 'just so'? Answering these questions can help you narrow down the search for the right type of property for you.
We Can Help
Having a great agent who will go the extra mile for you is imperative. Our team is dedicated to helping you find the best home, at the right price. We want to guide you through the process in way that will solidify us as your real estate team of choice, not simply for this one transaction, but for the rest of your life as a homeowner.
When you hire us to guide you through the process of buying your first home, we want to get on the same page in regards to what you want and how much you can afford. We do this by starting off by having a sit-down home buying 101 consultation in the office. We use this to get clear on what you like, what your goals are, and what is most important to you. Then we'll find a way to merge these priorities and find a home that you'll love!
Keep your main objectives in mind while touring homes. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical side, so keep your emotions in check. Many buyers find it useful to keep a list handy of the features and benefits that you need and want in your new home, and grade each home by the list instead of by details that could distract you from your goal. When you're alone with your agent or your spouse, you can review the pros and cons of each home. We can help you stay on track while still keeping our eyes out for a great property. Rest assured you'll never feel pressure from us to settle on a house, although we do commit to you to be honest in regards to what is actually possible to get within a given budget.
Write an offer. This can be a maze of "due diligence", "seller", "disclosures", "earnest money", deposit", and "settlement deadlines". One of our jobs is to prepare the paperwork and educate you as to what it is prior to submitting it for the seller's consideration. Remember, the seller may reject or counter your offer, so even at this late date, avoid setting your heart on the home you hope to own. We'll take many things into account to determine the most effective way to structure your offer in today's hy[er-competetive market.
Get a home inspection done. A home inspector will check for signs of harmful materials like asbestos, lead paint and mold. They'll also check for evidence of pests, faulty wiring and leaks. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection done means that you are running the risk of buying a home with significant issues. A home inspection could be the best money you ever spend. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars-possibly up to a couple thousand depending on the size of the home, but again, this is more than worth it in the end. There are several inspectors that we've used in the past and are happy to make recommendations.
Do a final walkthrough before closing the deal. Within seven calendar days of the settlement deadline we will arrange a final walk through to confirm the home is in an as-represented condition and that any agreed upon repairs have been made.
From the initial buying consultation that determines your requirements to the moment the give you the keys to your new home, we are here to help you with the complicated process of buying a home. Don't hesitate to contact us to arrange a no-obligation home buying consultation to dicuss how we can make the home buying process easier!
Contact us for more information about buying your first home.