Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Home
Whether it’s your first time or your fifth time, buying a home can be a complicated process. There are so many things to consider when buying home, the least of which is deciding to make the leap in the first place! On top of that, there are the financial issues to consider, the local market and your current and future housing needs. Last but not least are the little things that make home buying personal, such as amenities, neighborhood, style and design.
To help prospective buyers wrap their heads around the home-buying process, we’ve compiled an easy-to-remember summary of the things you should know. The following “Who, What, When, Where, Why” list can help buyers mentally organize all the information they need to keep track of.
Who. The “who” part of homebuying the person who’ll help you along the way; aka your real estate agent. Choosing an agent is a big deal, so it’s important to work with someone you trust. It’s a good idea to seek referrals from friends and neighbors, and to meet with prospective agents. Chemistry and personality are as important as experience and expertise, so go with your gut. It’s also important to find a professional who has your best interest in mind, and one who is good at keeping the lines of communication open.
What. What is an essential question in buying a home. What are the benefits of buying a home? What are the drawbacks? What kind of home are you looking for? What amenities? What are the must-haves and the nice-to-haves? Making a list of your wants and needs can help narrow your focus during your search. It’s also smart to consider the things to look for when buying a home.
When. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your lifetime, so it’s crucial to do it at the right time. Balancing market conditions with your personal finances and life circumstances is not to be taken lightly. For example, some may discourage buying a home when it’s a seller’s market and prices are higher, but if you’ve started a family and are quickly outgrowing your current space, now may be the best time. The same can be said when interest rates are low, or when your children have flown the coop and you’re ready to downsize because you’re left with more house than you need.
Where. Location is everything in home buying, and a good starting point is to determine where, exactly, you’d like to live (and which neighborhoods you can afford). This takes a bit of research, but in the end, it will make house hunting that much easier. Some things to consider are commute times, access to shopping and services, school districts, and safety. It’s also a good idea to consider the type of neighborhood you’d like to call home. For example, are you looking for a quiet, rural way of life? A family-focused suburb? A walkable neighborhood with restaurants and nightlife close by?
Why. This may seem like a basic question, but determining the reasons behind buying a home can also help you when shopping for ah home. Buying a home has always been a part of the American dream, and it means more than just finding a place to live. Some buyers want a legacy to pass on to their children. Some want a piece of land they can use to raise animals and grow food. Others are thinking long-term, and are seeking a home in which they can age in place. And some are in it purely for financial reasons.
How. Ok, this one wasn’t on our original list, but we thought we’d add it in for good measure. How to buy a house is also important. For seasoned veterans, this one may come as no surprise. But for newbies, the process can seem convoluted. But here’s a very basic breakdown of how the home-buying process works.
- Determine your budget
- Research the market
- Get pre-approved
- Find the right agent
- Go house hunting
- Make an offer
- Choose a lender
- Close the sale
It’s understandable to become overwhelmed by the home buying process. It takes hours of research, a lot of patience, and a good team on your side. But by considering the basic information you need to know before buying a home, it’s possible avoid home-buying mistakes, and in no time, you’ll be moving into the home of your dreams.