Its easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a home…imagining yourself and your family in your dream house, making it your own, all the little projects you’d like to do…but don’t get so caught up that you forget these five important things:
1. Home inspection: Yes, it’s a big deal, even if you’re looking to buy a brand new house. It will cost you a few hundred dollars, but it could cost you a whole lot more than that if you don’t get one, and then find out your home has major problems.
2. Budget: Unless you’re among the tiny fraction of people to whom budget is not an issue, don’t forget your budget when looking at homes. Don’t be pushed into buying something you can’t afford, or that you aren’t comfortable with.
3. Agreement with your spouse/partner: Don't go out and buy a house without being on the same page as your spouse or partner. Relationships are enough work without adding a long-term element of strife like a house.
4. Additional expenses: When calculating your budget, did you remember to add costs such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance (unless you’re putting 20% down), and possibly increased utility cost if you’re moving into a larger home or to a climate that has significantly higher heating and cooling needs? What about a sinking fund for the new roof you’ll need in five years? You may be able to afford the principle payment on a house, but that’s far from the only cost you’ll need to pay.
5. Location: Maybe you’ve found your dream home, but you have two small children and it’s on a very busy street. Or maybe its in an area hose climate would exacerbate a severe health issue you have. Location is important. Without taking it into consideration, your dream home could turn into more of a nightmare.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, keeping these things in mind when you’re in the process of buying a home will help you to stay on track, and keep the home buying process much more pleasant.