It’s not an easy task to find a good home. If you simply buy the best-looking one, you could soon realize that you’ve made a mistake.
The decision to purchase a home should always confer the duty to research the prospective homes first. Many people don’t spend enough time doing this. Below are some pointers that will help you find the best home for your needs.
1. Write down your objective
It’s a good idea to write down what you want to get out of buying a new home. Are you looking to save on rent, are you planning to live in the new place for many years, or are you purchasing primarily for investment purposes?
2. Decide on the size
It’s unwise to jump and buy a two-bedroom house if you might be expanding your family in the future. A small starter home is fine for you and your spouse, but not when you have (or might soon have) three children.
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3. Select the type of home
You should know the type of home you’re looking for. You might prefer a townhouse, condo, or a single-family, ranch-style residence. It’s important to establish which, since the price ranges, closing costs, and homeowner association dues, will affect what you’re apt to pay, both initially and over time.
4. Check out the nearby schools
Newlyweds can land in trouble when they purchase a home in a neighborhood without good schools. It’s important to research the school ratings, even if you’re not planning to have kids right away.
5. Figure out whether you can afford it
This is the big question that must be answered. Most people forget what they can afford and end up buying a bigger houses. If 2008 means anything, you might want to search for a house within your means.
6. Can you rent it
This is another factor people often overlook. Check the rental market in your area. You might want the option to rent your home, if the economy turns bad and you’re forced to relocate.
If you decide to buy an expensive home, at least make sure you’re buying in a prime location. Home prices recover fastest in such areas. For example, home prices in places such as San Francisco were not much affected even during the recent recession.
8. Shop for a good lender
Do not settle for the first lender that you happen to work with. Check with multiple institutions before you lock in your mortgage rate.
Your local bank might not offer the best rate you can get. Compare multiple lenders based on criteria such as APR, closing costs, and down payment.
9. Monitor your credit score
You need to hunker down on opening new credit lines at least six months before your closing date. This gives you enough time to improve your credit score. Pay off big balances on your credit cards, and limit potential credit inquiries.
The above tips and pointers will make your home-buying experience a more pleasant one. Research may be time consuming, but it will pay off in the long run.