Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life and you do not want to mess it up, do you? Well, there is no need to go overboard with spending, buy something just to look good in the eyes of others, or rush the decision without the proper legwork. If you play it smart, your dream home will be within reach. Therefore, set emotions aside and let rationality rule the show. Low mortgage rates and prices are good news for buyers, and it is better to act sooner rather than later. Somewhere out there in the real estate wilderness, your opportunity to strike gold lies.
A reality check
Distinguish between what you want and what you can really afford. First time home buyers are seldom able to purchase their dream homes, but you do not have to end with something that is a far cry from it. Being practical and logical is the best course of action. Likewise, try to keep an open mind and be flexible: Otherwise, your search may take forever. One other thing to consider is whether it is actually better for you to rent a place and postpone the purchase. In any regard, buying a home is intimidating enough so do not allow the need for speed cloud your judgment and prevent you from gaining footing in the property arena.
Gain a full financial picture
This brings us to the point of working out a budget and staying within its limits. One thing you want to avoid is biting off more than you can chew. Also, bear in mind that taking into account just the price tag. The best scenario is to pay upfront, or deal with the mortgage as soon as possible. Apart from these aspects, make sure to factor in any renovation, legal, stamp duty, as well as maintenance costs and deposits (usually 10% of the property price). It makes financial sense to assess the future trajectory the market will take as well and opt for a property in an undervalued area with a growth potential.
Prepare for the mortgage
The mortgage deserves a bit more attention. From this point of view, the situation is better than it used to be several years ago. As competition rises and lenders offer more deals, the rates go down. Note that a bigger deposit and down payment enables you to accomplish more long-term savings. This is not to say you should throw caution to the wind. In fact, weigh lender fees as well as headline rates. Strive to get pre-approved by lenders or mortgage brokers to expedite the closing of the purchase. Cash and good credit score are your main tools of striking a fine bargain and acquire a favorable loan.
Explore other financing opportunities
Do not miss any chance to save money. First off, we have shared ownership schemes that enable users to borrow money and purchase a certain portion of the property. As for the remaining portion, you are obliged to pay a rent. Furthermore, rally the family troops: Seek mortgage deals that cater to families, such as guarantor mortgages and joint mortgages. Finally, you might be able to take advantage of government schemes. They usually offer an interest-free equity loan to those who struggle with finances and aspire to own the home.
Use online tools
Knowing where to look for properties is half of the work. It is estimated that 90% of all properties are listed online, so there is no doubt that your home ownership endeavor should kick off there. Services like Zillow have transformed the way people look for properties, but there are plenty of other great options for finding the appropriate target. Cruising around the neighborhood and checking out the property is still an integral part of the process, although it might also be possible to do a virtual tour of the space. At last, read home-buying guides on the internet and develop a deeper understanding of the market and processes that drive prices.
Assess the location
A desired type of property is of the utmost importance, a factor that gives you clarity and focus down the road. Yet, people tend to overlook another essential aspect is the location of the property. Many people shy away from the suburbs, assuming that the transportation hassle would be too much to bear. Well, do your research and see how commuting holds up and whether there are some hot suburban areas to scope out. The location of the home is also a decisive factor in terms of quality of life. We all want to live in a nice neighborhood with ample amenities.
Identify must-have features
Do not dive in without putting together a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. Basically, you need to decide what features are non-negotiable and make them the focus of your hunt. It would be a shame to cross out an affordable home just because the wall color choice is less than ideal. Similarly, a parking lot in the vicinity and a nice yard may be more important than the fact that the house is not your style. Some things can be set right with a minimal amount of money, while others, such as structural integrity faults, demand undivided attention.
Conduct an inspection
This leads us to the final tip: Do not neglect an inspection. It is the only way to bring the condition of the home as well as any associated problems to light. You have to know what you are getting yourself into. Some areas of the home call for vigilance more than others. This is the case with the foundations, roof, attic, exterior, basement, plumbing, electrical system, appliances, and HVAC. And in order to cut the time needed for the process, you should rely on licensed professionals. Yes, this will cost you extra, but inspection will be more than worth it.
Quicker than the ray of light
Start your home ownership adventure by envisioning your ideal home with all its features and characteristics. Next, see if you can translate this image into reality. Buy within your financial limits and get your priorities straight. Do not let wishful thinking get in the way of making a sound decision. Functionality and price of the home should form the nucleus of your search because you can always add some flair and aesthetics later. Essentials and budget always come first when you want to step onto the property ladder. The hunt is on!
Lana Hawkins is the architecture student and blogger from Sydney, Australia. She enjoys writing about latest real estate news and trends. Lana suggests checking Lifull website for acquiring more related information.