If you’re looking to buy a new home, congratulations! Whether you’re upsizing or buying for the first time, this is a big step.
In fact, it’s such a big step that there’s a lot of house buying advice to consider. If you’re wondering how to buy a new home, we’ve assembled a guide to help you organize your priorities and make a solid choice.
1. Why Are They Selling?
House buying tips usually fall into two categories: things you can control and the house itself.
Find out why the seller is looking to make a move. In most cases, life happens. They are now empty-nesters, or their job requires them to move across states.
However, some sellers are shady. They might sell because the foundation is cracked and they can’t afford to replace it, or it’s time to replace the roof and they don’t want to spend the money.
Try to get all the information you can to ensure that you aren’t inheriting someone else’s problems. But knowing someone’s motivation for selling is a major advantage in your corner.
If someone is selling because of a new job, for instance, they’re under a time crunch. They can’t afford to take their sweet time selling their home.
Their rush works to your advantage. Because of their hurry, you might get a sweet deal that you wouldn’t have otherwise received.
2. What Condition Are Your Finances In?
When you start the process of buying a new home, try to put a stop to any major purchases. Now is not the time to drop a down payment on a new car, or to shop for new furniture.
This will make you a better candidate when you get to the final process. But it’s also important to check in on your credit score, too. It has a huge impact on whether you can get a mortgage, and what interest rates you can get.
You should also calculate how much home you can actually afford. Many experts recommend that your housing costs equal no more than 30% of your monthly gross income.
In our current wild housing market, this number might need to stretch a little for you. But it still is a good number to shoot for, so that you can have financial security in your new home.
3. How Are You Going to Pay For It?
The common wisdom is that you need 20% of the down payment saved up. For instance, if you want to buy a $300,000 home, you’ll want to save $60,000.
This amount may seem insurmountable. In a nation where few Americans have any emergency savings at all, who has $60,000 lying around? The answer is not many.
That’s why there are so many lending programs available, particularly for first-time homebuyers. You can get assistance through state or federal programs, which equal a lower mortgage and better interest rates.
Don’t deny yourself home ownership just because you don’t have an astronomical amount saved up. There’s likely something that can be worked out!
4. Get Pre-Approved
In today’s buying market, houses are getting snapped up before people even see them. There have been cases of houses being bought in the time between other viewers driving from the realtor’s office to the prospective home.
With that in mind, it makes sense that buyers are putting in offers without even taking any time to sleep on them. You’ll want to erase any potential roadblocks before even putting an offer in.
One of those roadblocks is mortgage pre-approval. Get it done before you even think about making an offer on a house so that you know what you’re working with.
5. Where Is the House Located?
As mentioned above, when you make your ‘buying a new home checklist’, some factors will be in your control. But other factors relate to the house itself.
One of our top house buying tips is to make sure the location works for your lifestyle. What is the neighborhood like, and does it fit the season of life you’re in?
Older empty nesters may not want to live within walking distance of busy nightlife. Instead, they may prefer a quiet suburb. Whatever your preferences, make sure the house you buy matches up.
After all, whether you’re looking at an old classic or buying a new construction home, hopefully, you’ll be there for a long time!
6. What Does the Lot Look Like?
Do you have pets or children? Do you like elaborate landscaping? What about your gardening passions?
All of these questions are influenced by the lot size and design. Many suburbs don’t have acreage, but they do have fenced lawns that are perfect for pets.
The size of the lot will dictate what your outdoor life will look like. Want to be able to entertain outdoors in a garden? That might not happen if your prospective lawn is the size of a postage stamp.
7. How Many Bedrooms and Bathrooms?
If you want to buy your house cheap, it may be a wise idea to minimize the number of bedrooms. Depending on the number and ages of your children, they can likely share bedrooms.
Or, you might not need an extra bedroom for a study or an exercise room. Instead, you could go down to the basement or take advantage of nearby coworking spaces.
Our housebuying advice is—make sure it fits your needs, and try to plan ahead. If your children are getting ready to move out, or you plan on having another baby, make sure you consider these things when buying.
8. What Are the Appliances Like?
Appliances are expensive! You’ll want to read the listing carefully to see what appliances are included. You don’t want to be surprised if you assumed that the washer/dryer was included, and found that they weren’t!
Consider the age, quality, and style of the appliances. Do they work for you? If not, consider whether you have space in your budget to replace them.
Buy a New Home
If you want to buy a new home, it’s important to take your time and check off everything on your list. If you take your time, you’ll find something that works for you!
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