You've decided to buy a home. You've done all the research, talked to your financial planner and gotten a mortgage pre-approval. Now you're working with a real estate agent, but how do you make the big decision about which home to buy?
Cost is Likely the Primary Factor
Lenders are generally not as generous as they may have been in the past, but this still does not necessarily mean you should purchase a home that is at the upper limits of your pre-approval. You should consider your future as well as your current expenses. For example, if you have a child or you're planning to go back to school yourself, you might want to take these costs into account. However, it's also important to remember that you or your child can pay for school in other ways, including taking out student loans from this site here. Keep in mind that if you anticipate having student loan debt yourself, your income will probably increase as well as a result of more education.
Do You Want a Fixer-Upper
This is an important question. The price of the house might be great, but you wouldn't want to live in it until some renovations are completed. On the other hand, some people genuinely enjoy this aspect of home ownership. One of the best things about owning your own home is that you can knock down a wall or tear out ugly bathroom fixtures. However, renovation does take a lot of work, a lot of money or a combination of the two. If you aren't sure whether DIY is your thing, you might want to buy a home that you can move into and enjoy as-is.
What's the Neighborhood Like
While you can make reasonable guesses in some cases, ample research is needed for any potential new neighborhood. For example, if you are looking for a kid-friendly neighborhood, you could note whether you see a lot of kids out playing or children's toys on lawns. Some people suggest driving around the area at night to get a sense of whether it tends to be noisy. Other factors that are easier to assess include how far the neighborhood is from your workplace and what the nearby schools are like. You may also want to look into whether area homes have been increasing in value and if there are any major development projects planned for the area.
Are Problems Easily Fixable
Hideous wallpaper, ugly carpeting or a nausea-inducing color scheme for the bathroom can turn you off a house immediately, but it's important to keep in mind that these are all easy to change even if you don't want a house that needs a lot of work. On the other hand, don't be so dazzled by these same cosmetic features done right that you overlook serious flaws with the house. Beautiful light fixtures or a fresh coat of paint could draw your attention away from structural problems or simply from a volume of renovation work you aren't willing to put in to your first home.