There are a lot of basic, expected, and tried-and-true considerations to keep in mind when buying a home. These include things like “location, location, location” and “don’t start shopping until you’ve been pre-approved.” But there are a few tips that, while known, sometimes get forgotten in the excitement of buying a new home. Whether you’re about to start your home search or you’re right in the middle of it, keep these four things in mind.
- Your life might not always be the way it is now. This may seem like a given – of course life changes! But sometimes when purchasing a home, we don’t always think of every possible angle. It’s impossible to plan for every possible life situation, best and worst-case scenarios, and so forth. But it’s still wise to consider some very real possibilities for the long-term. If you’re single, for example, do you plan on eventually getting married? Do you plan on having children – or more children if you already do? Do you plan on getting a pet? Is the job you have now the one you plan on having forever? Often life throws us curveballs that we don’t expect, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think realistically about future possibilities.
- Buy what you know you can afford, not just what the bank says you can afford. Another seemingly obvious tip, but sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. If the bank says you qualify for $300,000 for example, but you know that realistically you don’t think you can (or want to) afford any more than $200,000, then go with what you know. There is never a good reason to be house poor!
- It’s not just about the cost of the home; it’s about the cost of the home. Often potential homebuyers (especially first-time buyers) focus solely on the purchase price of a home and don’t always consider the overall expenses that the home might need. Insurance, HOA fees, taxes, home improvement, maintenance…take it all into consideration, because it all adds up.
- Having 20% down is important but set some extra aside. Saving for that 20% down is always a good idea but remember: you’re going to want some money after closing for something, whether it’s a cosmetic change like paint or light fixtures, or if it’s for the perfect piece of furniture for your new den. Whatever it might be, when saving for you down payment, know that if you’re able to, it’s okay to save some extra money for those fun things after the purchase.