Buying a home can be a stressful process, especially when you’re doing it for the first time. And now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are even more challenges to consider, so patience is a virtue.
But, buying a home should also be exciting. It’s a chance to move somewhere that will allow you to grow a family, or get out of the city for some more space. It can even help you to avoid some of the risks of renting while helping you to build equity.
There’s really no wonder so many people are interested in buying over renting, and it doesn’t have to be a completely overwhelming experience if you know what you’re doing. So, let’s take a look at a few things you should be aware of before buying your first home. Being as prepared as possible will help to reduce the stress of the process and may put those keys in your hand faster.
Make Sure You’re Ready
If you’ve already started looking at properties online, it’s easy to get excited about what you see. But, before you dive too deeply into your search, make sure you’re ready to commit to a mortgage, rather than a lease.
Living in the city and renting an apartment or house is much different from owning your own home. Some of the benefits of renting include:
- Not having to worry about maintenance or repairs
- Easy access to amenities
- More flexibility
- No real estate taxes
- Lower insurance
But, for many, the benefits of owning a home are greater, including independence, space, and the freedom to do what you want with your property. So, how can you know if you’re truly ready to take the plunge and own a home? The first thing to consider is your financial situation. You probably should hold off on buying if you have a lot of debt built up. But, if you’re debt-free (or close to it), you have a high credit score and a steady job, homeownership can be a great option.
You’ll really know you’re ready for buying a home when you start thinking about long-term living. Buying a house is a major investment. If you know that you want to purchase a place and stay there for years as opposed to hopping around from place to place, you might be ready for a more permanent living solution; one that comes with a mortgage.
Mistakes to Avoid
When you’re buying a home for the first time, it’s easy to get confused by the process. Unfortunately, that causes a lot of home buyer’s to make unnecessary mistakes.
Again, a lot of it comes down to your finances. It’s so important to make sure you have them in order before you begin your home search, and that you’re working with the right people to help you along the way.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is looking for a home before you get approved for a loan. A home loan approval will let you know what your buying range should be, so you don’t bite off more than you can chew. It will also help you to create a budget and understand what other expenses you’ll be able to afford. But, don’t make the additional mistake of only interviewing one lender. Work with a few at the beginning of the process to determine who can give you the best loan with the lowest interest rate.
Once you’ve been approved for a loan, find the right real estate team to work with. You might be tempted to go with the first realtor you find online. But, working with a team that understands your budget, as well as your needs and wants, will make the whole process easier on you.
Finally, as tempting as it can be, don’t make the mistake of buying a house with emotion. Of course, you want to love the house you choose. But, let reason trump your emotions.
Can you really afford it? Can you make a downpayment? Will you be stretched extremely thin every month? Striking a healthy balance of emotion and reason will make it easier to find a house you love while knowing you’ll be financially comfortable living there.
What to Do Once You’ve Moved In
Once you’ve finally closed on a house, you can relax a bit and enjoy officially being a homeowner!
But, now that you are a homeowner, you can’t ignore little things that need to be taken care of right away. Certain home projects may need to be addressed immediately so they don’t become big headaches in the future. For example, if you’re hearing noises in your house, they could be signaling something more serious, including:
- Bubbling sound in your pipes
- Electric buzzing or humming
- Hissing noises
- Banging pipes
- Running water
- Scratching in the walls
Whether you notice any of these issues or you just want to start turning your new house into a home, don’t hesitate to take the reins on improvement projects. The sooner you get things done, the sooner your new space will start to feel more like your own, and you can revel in the fact that you own your own place.