You’ve pored over local real estate listings and watched hours of house hunting shows. You’re ready to take the plunge and start seriously looking for a new home. How can you make sure you pick the right one? Follow these 3 tips.
- You can afford it.
Be realistic about your budget. Factor in your current earnings, savings and expenses. Then add homeownership costs to the mix – a down payment, mortgage, maintenance, HOA or condo association fees. Start crunching the numbers here.
Talk to a few lenders to learn more about your options. You may be eligible for down payment assistance or a mortgage with a down payment as little as 3% of the home’s cost. A lender will help you understand your options and secure pre-approval before you start house shopping.
- It’s a location you love (or can live with).
Where you want to live and your lifestyle will impact how much home you can afford. Is it worth it to sacrifice convenience for more square footage? Does a smaller space make sense to stay close to where you work? Or do you want to escape the hum of the city for more open spaces? Once you’ve decided what’s important to you in a location, you can start to narrow the field of potential homes.
- Your must-haves are all there.
What are the “must-haves” in your future home? Start with the basics: the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. If storage is high on the priority list, think about whether you’ll need a garage, basement or big backyard (or all three!). Research the local school system, if you have school-aged kids. Make sure the top priorities are covered before adding the “nice to haves” on your list – like an updated kitchen or wall-to-wall carpeting.
Want to receive our weekly blog round up? Subscribe at the right – and each Friday we'll send you our latest blog posts.
Have a comment or question about this post? Email us to let us know what's on your mind.