by Jessica Smith, House Doctors
Buying a house is a huge decision - one that obviously requires great care. Every family has its own specific needs and expectations for a home and here I want to share some practical aspects of buying a home. If these steps are neglected it may lead to a move you might regret later. Here are 12 things to keep in mind before buying a house!
1. Plan Ahead - Plan your financials for a while before you actually make the move. This ensures lasting financial security and better decisions in the longer run. Even beyond your loan, save up for the extra costs that are bound to crop up after you move to a new home as increasing your credit card bills with an already existing mortgage on your head won't do you any favors. Read more about protecting your credit here.
2. Understand the Type of Property You Need - Every family has its own preferences and requirements and while some extra add-ons like a huge deck or garden may seem intriguing in the beginning, they may become a liability in the long run if you fail to maintain them. Choose a property of the right size and with the right amenities only after taking the maintenance of the property into consideration.
3. Conduct a Proper Home Inspection - Never rush into buying a property from the outer looks of it. It's imperative to inspect and examine the intricacies of the house like the windows, walls, roof and plumbing to understand their condition and make a better-informed decision. It's best to invest in a professional surveyor in this case as it pays off by saving huge amounts of money that would otherwise go into petty repairs or garage door repairs soon after moving into the house.
4. Notice the Direction of the Windows - As unimportant as this may seem, the direction of windows can make a huge difference to the basic aura of the house by deciding the amount of light and air the house receives. It also decides how cold or hot the house will be in summers and winters depending on the wind direction.
5. Calculate Your Commutes - Having a house at a close distance from your workplace and the school, if you have a kid in the house, may save you huge amounts of money and time which you would otherwise invest in transportation to and fro these places. It is as easy to checking with Google Maps!
6. Research the Neighborhood - Research the neighbourhood properly before making a decision. Choose a place that isn't too noisy, is clean, has sufficient greenery, and most importantly, is safe. We recommend using Google Earth to view the neighborhood with a satellite view to hone in on what the real estate photographs don't show!
7. Save At Least 20% for the Down Payment - While buying a house, its best to save up 20% of the down-payment for your house before approaching the bank for a loan as on lacking that amount, most banks will force you to get mortgage insurance which will add almost an extra 1% to your mortgage interest, hence significantly increasing your expenditure in the longer run.
8. Get a Pre-Approval for A Loan - Explore different banks and their offers and get your budget for the house pre-approved before hunting for a house instead of getting your loan approved after choosing a house as it effectively shaves off as much as 0.25% off your mortgage interest which is a lot of money in total.
9. Opt for a 15 Year Mortgage - Instead of opting for a 30-year mortgage that allows you to pay smaller instalments every month, go for a 15-year mortgage with higher monthly payments as not only will this make you debt free much faster hence enhancing your financial security but the 15-year mortgage also has a significantly lower rate of interest.
10. Don't Allow Mortgage Payment To Exceed 40% of Salary - A thumb rule to ensure financial security while buying a house is to keep your monthly debt payments lower than 40% of your salary as increasing it beyond that limit, puts you on a very dangerous financial edge that might lead to you losing the house due to the inability to pay the mortgage due to some financial emergency or crisis.
11. Start Your Search On Low End of Budget - When you start hunting for the right home, start at the lower end of your budget and try to find one that meets all your needs at that budget and gradually move upwards bit by bit if a particular budget fails to give you what you're looking for.
12. Know the Homeowner’s Association Details - Before choosing a particular property, find out if there is a Homeowner’s Association or any similar Association in the neighbourhood and if there is, find out their rules and monthly fees to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the future after you move into your new home.
So these were a few tips to keep in mind while buying your future home!
If you would like to see housing data for Boulder County, there are plenty of statistics to check out in such as "Days on Market", "Total Inventory" and "Newly Listed Homes". We track all these market statistics for Single Family Homes (SFH) for most of neighboring towns on a monthly basis, including Louisville, Erie, Lafayette and Superior. Check out latest market statistics here. At Louisville Realty Associates, we have the experience, energy and depth of knowledge to help you list your home for the best price. You can reach us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Jessica Smith is a long distance single-family real estate investor and the Senior Editor for Elite Garage Lynnwood. After a few years of success in real estate, she felt compelled to teach people real estate and home improvement is more profitable than they might think and far less risky than they assume.