3 Things to Know About Buying a House
Buying a home is one of the most exciting days in your life. Having a realtor to guide you through the process can help you conquer any challenges that arise, but you should also do some research on your own.
That way, you’ll understand the terms, the questions to ask and the steps you’ll take along the way to walking through the front door of your very own home.
Here are three things to know about buying a house:
1. You Have Options
Conventional wisdom used to dictate that home buyers should make a 20% down payment and then finance the rest with a long-term, fixed-rate mortgage through a bank or mortgage company. While you may still want to follow this path, you don’t have to—the home-buying process should fit your needs and goals. You may choose to put down less or more than 20%; just remember that your monthly mortgage payments will increase or decrease accordingly.
The mortgage isn’t all you’ll be paying: the true cost of a home also includes insurance, taxes, potential homeowners association (HOA) fees and more. Explore your options with your bank before you even start looking for a house so you know how much house you can readily afford.
2. House Hunt in All Weather, in All Seasons
It’s typical for people to want to look at houses on sunny days. After all, every house looks welcoming in good weather, but you should also go house hunting in less-pleasant weather—especially once you’ve narrowed down the home-buying process to the one you think you want.
Visit it on a rainy day to see if it has any flooding issues. Does the property slope so that water runs down the driveway and into the garage? Does the basement flood? Do parts of the property get large puddles?
What about those gorgeous trees in the front yard? Do they drop a lot of leaves in the fall, or are they old and in danger of falling over in the next storm? How are the heating and cooling systems functioning when the temperatures rise and fall? While a good home inspector can help you determine some of this, there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself.
3. You’re Responsible for EVERYTHING
Welcome to your new home—now be prepared for anything to happen. The truth is that the home-buying process is just the beginning of the home-owning process.
Homeownership means you’re now responsible for the upkeep of your residence and everything in it, from windows and siding to the water heater and dishwasher. If you don’t yet have at least six months’ worth of emergency money socked away in a savings account, now could be a good time to consider it. Be sure it covers not just your monthly mortgage payments, but also utilities, trash, cable, insurance, and more.
Owning your home is exciting. A little preparation and knowledge can go a long way in the home-buying process to ensure you get the home that’s perfect for you.