Buying your first home is a fun and exciting time, but it comes with its fair share of stress, especially in today’s competitive housing market. We’re here to help you navigate the whirlwind that is home shopping with these helpful tips.
Don’t Fall in Love With Pictures
Some things photograph well; others don’t. When shopping for a house via an app or website, the pictures can tell a pretty compelling story, but they shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of your homebuying experience. Yes, photos will give you a solid first impression, but they shouldn’t be the only consideration. Make sure you visit the property in person – and with an open mind.
When shopping for a home, flexibility is the key to ending up with what you want. We all have a list of desirables – how many bedrooms and bathrooms, what kind of outdoor space we want, which upgrades are crucial? That said, there is no “perfect” house out there. While you shouldn’t settle for something you don’t love, you also shouldn’t completely hold out for this idea of a home that may not exist. Keep your expectations realistic and be willing to compromise on some components when necessary.
Have a Firm Understanding of Your Budget
While an important part of the homebuying experience, simply being pre-qualified isn’t enough to tell you what is financially feasible. Just because you qualify for a certain dollar amount doesn’t mean that your budget allows for that level of mortgage payment. So, sit down and do the math. What are your current monthly expenses? What can you realistically add to those expenses? You should set a number that you’re comfortable with, as well as a maximum payment you can’t go over, just in case you see a home that’s slightly outside of your preferred budget. Setting these expectations up front keeps you on the right track.
Know About Additional Costs
Buying a house is not an inexpensive experience, and just like with other big purchases, there are additional costs that you’ll need to consider. For instance, if you put less than 20% down on your new house, you’ll need to pay PMI, which is a mortgage insurance fee. Additionally, you’ll need to add taxes, home insurance, and interest to your monthly payment considerations. You also need to consider costs that come before closing, such as lawyer fees, appraisal fees, home inspection fees, etc. These expenses can add up, so do your research and make sure you’re aware of them in advance!
Being a first-time homebuyer may be overwhelming, but it can be a lot less taxing when you do your research and know what to be prepared for. Use these tips to help you in your search, and good luck!