Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Home
A lot of people buy a home without asking themselves the right questions. This ends up with them making some pretty hasty and harmful decisions. Make sure you answer these questions before you start shopping around!
Are my finances looking okay?
The first thing you should be reviewing is your finances. You may think that you’re okay to start the ball rolling, but if you jump onto the ‘buy a home’ bandwagon before you’re really financially stable then you could be setting yourself up for trouble later on.
You may be tempted to try buying a house without a down payment, which many consider to be the thing that stops them from being able to afford the commitment. But going without a down payment (ideally, one that’s at least 20% of the total cost of the home) can be incredibly expensive. You’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance, which isn’t actually as ‘insuring’ as it sounds – if something goes wrong with the property, you won’t have a safety net.
Be thorough when working out the cost of a mortgage. After that, ensure that your financial future is stable. If you haven’t been in your current job for very long, or if you believe you won’t be there much longer, then you may want to hold off. You should be on solid footing when it comes to your career. Find out more about achieving that footing at http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/how-to-achieve-true-job-security.html.
Am I ready to stay put for a few years?
There are several reasons you should ensure that you’re actually ready to stay in one place for several years. The first is obvious: buying a home is a huge decision, and it’s not one you should be making if you only need a place for a year or two.
One that’s less obvious is economic. The real estate market is nowhere near as certain as it was about a decade ago (and it’s not like things were that stable back then, either!). Property values can feel sturdy one day, then seem to go in complete flux in the next. The length of time that you’ll end up tying yourself to a mortgage repayment system means that a stay below four years is not recommended at all. You should really be prepared to settle down for a while – which means you should do some serious thinking about where you want to be in the next few years. Read more about life planning at https://www.forbes.com/sites/actiontrumpseverything/2013/01/13/how-to-plan-your-life-when-you-cant-plan-your-life/.
How much room do I really need?
People have a tendency to underestimate or overestimate how much room they’re going to need for their home. Many sources say that it’s more common for people to think they need much more room than they end up needing. To some extent, the appeal of huge amounts of space is very understandable. After all, you’ll be at the property for a long time. But just remember that people often end up paying too much for a home that they don’t really properly utilize. Don’t be afraid to look for something smaller!
Of course, if you do need something big, then don’t be afraid to look at some of the biggest properties in the area so you can get a good sense of the sort of scale you want to work with. The area you’re looking in will determine how big a house you can get for a reasonable price. Somewhere like New York City, for example, has many huge properties, but the prices will be daunting, to say the least. Have a look at some roomy properties at http://www.skyfiveproperties.com/homes/Coral-Gables/Gables-Estates.
Am I going to want kids?
So maybe you already have kids. In which case, you’re probably already going to be looking for a home that’s close to some good schools. But a lot of people these days seem pretty certain that they don’t want children. This is fine in itself, of course! But if you’re a young couple who have no inclination to have kids or adopt at any point, you’ll probably cross the thoughts of schools and, to an extent, neighborhood safety off of your criteria.
This might be a mistake. Remember: this is a place you should be okay with living in for the next four years, at least – and many experts suggest the numbers of years is closer to about seven. If you change your mind in that time and you’ve bought a property absurdly far from school districts or parks, then you’ll end up regretting the decision. So keep this in mind – it’s a good way of highlighting how much of a commitment buying a house really is.