There are plenty of articles out there online that tell you the basic steps of buying home. These can be very helpful for brand new homebuyers who have no idea where to start. But what if the basic information doesn’t fully prepare you for your home buying adventure? Here are some of the most commonly overlooked details, to ensure that you have as much information as possible before you start the home searching and mortgage process.
Really Know Your Budget
Having a rough idea of how much money you have to spend is not enough. You need to know exactly how much money you can devote to a mortgage and all of the expenses that come along with being a home owner (including property tax, utilities, garbage removal, etc.). Most professionals recommend paying no more than 30% of your total income on mortgage and home-related expenses.
Aside from factoring your routine expenses into your monthly budget, it is important to make sure that you have budgeted for your down payment. How large your down payment can have a huge effect on your mortgage and the entire home buying process. Make sure you know how much money you can put down before you even start looking for a home.
Do Pay Attention to Location
“Location, location, location,” is in no danger of becoming an outdated phrase. It really should be one of the biggest factors in choosing a home. The right house in the wrong location should really be the wrong house. No matter how much you love the structure itself, if it is an hour commute to and from work and school (as well as restaurants, entertainment, and shopping—unless that’s how far you want to be away from those things) a beautiful house will become a pain.
Start with Mortgage Pre-Approval
Don’t meet with a real estate agent until you have been pre-approved for a mortgage. This means doing all of your research about lenders and finding one that you want to work with before you even start looking houses. Why? Because you will have a much firmer idea of how much house you can afford, instead of giving your agent a general idea. There is no danger of disappointment when you find out the home you fell in love with is well above your price range.