Purchasing a new house is probably the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. There is a lot to take in, so where do you start. Here is a list of steps to guide you before purchasing a home.
Talk to Your Banker
You need to make an appointment with your banker or mortgage broker. Going through the details of your finances and determining if you can afford to purchase a house at this point is key.
Time to Budget
If you’re serious about buying a home, you need to keep focused. A budget is a good way of doing this. Do you have a down payment ready? If not, it’s time to put together your plan to save for it. Look at your debts and reduce or get rid of as many as possible.
When you create your budget, make sure you do some research on what your additional costs could be, and build that into your plan. You may not need it but having it accounted for can give you some peace of mind and save you a headache down the line. Closing costs, lawyers/realtor fees, HOA fees, home inspections and more can sneak up on an unsuspecting home buyer.
What Kind of Home?
Decide what kind of home you want, and what fits your lifestyle. Single, married, kids, retiring – these all play into what types of homes you might want to look at. Is a duplex or a town home what you’re looking for, or would a single-family home on a large lot fit into your lifestyle better?
You will also need to create a ‘needs’ versus wants list for your new home. Determine exactly what you must have; these items aren’t negotiable. Your wants on the other hand, these are things you could live without. This will help eliminate potential homes from the start and save you a lot of time.
Don’t forget to think about the future. How many bedrooms do you need? Is there another baby in your future? Is this your first home or your final home? If you’re planning on selling your house, make sure the floor plan would work for a variety of lifestyles, otherwise you could have a hard time selling.
Having the perfect home, with the exact kitchen you’ve been dreaming of and that extra family space in the basement is great but if you don’t like your neighbourhood, you’re going to feel like something is missing. Do your research on the different communities in the area of the city you want to live in. Do you want to be close to your work, or is a bit of a longer commute okay with you? Are you trying to stay close to family and friends or do you really want to be close to that brand new rec centre? Once you pick your location, you can’t move your house if you don’t like the neighbourhood, so this is a key decision.
This step ties into our first step and involves a bit more research. Look at the current mortgage rates and the market. There are patterns in real estate that tie in with the stock market and dollar values, all of which play into the value of your home. One thing you want to remember is not to solely base your decision on what the media is saying as it tends to lean towards the negative side.
Get Some Advice
If you’re at the point in your life where you are looking at buying a home, chances are good that some of your friends and family are there too, or they’ve already gone through the process. Talk to them. Ask them about their experience – things they did right, things they would have changed. Get their take on the process and learn from it.
Show Home Time!
Here’s the fun part – it’s time to do some show home tours. Before you go, research potential builders online and talk to people you know who have recently built a home. Make some appointments or drop in and view the show homes, walk around and get a feel for the floor plan. You’ll get an idea of what you’re looking for and what options you have that fall in your price range.
The key thing you need to remember is that research is the most important thing when it comes to purchasing a home. Whether it involves finances, home models, the community or the builder you decide on, expect to spend time wading through information. Don’t rush the process and be inquisitive. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will make. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun while doing it.
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