Are You Ready For Home Ownership?
If you’ve been dreaming of buying your first home and you feel that the time has arrived, of course you want the experience to be an exciting and satisfying one! To ensure that it is, you should be certain that you are prepared for the responsibilities of home ownership, both financially as well as mentally.
Owning a home is much more than having the freedom to paint, redecorate, or remodel any way you wish, or getting that pet you’ve always wanted. While these are indeed benefits of owning rather than renting, you also gain the responsibility of a mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintenance for your home and yard. This means that part of your decision to buy must include making sure that your finances and expectations are aligned.
Questions for Prospective Homeowners
Are you ready to buy?
Having realistic expectations of home ownership should be your first step toward your goal. You need to plan and be certain that you are prepared to provide the maintenance your home will require for years to come. If you are currently renting, take into consideration the things that your property manager likely takes care of for you now and realize that those items would be your financial responsibility in your own home. If your situation proves that the benefits of ownership outweigh the risks involved, the time could be now!
How much can you afford?
Few things can be more discouraging than discovering that your income doesn’t stretch as far as needed for your dream home. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where the responsibilities of home ownership become a burden rather than a point of pride in your purchase. For most first time buyers, it is far better to buy a modest home to begin with and work towards the goal of purchasing that special dream home in a few years.
What is your debt-to-income ratio?
Lenders are very cautious when it comes to determining your debt-to-income ratio. Your housing debt should be no more than 32% of your income and your overall debt should not exceed 40%. What you are able to purchase for that 32% depends on where you choose to live. In most cases, rural or lower cost areas will likely offer a comfortable sized home with a nice yard, while in urban or highly-sought after areas, the size of the home and land you can afford for the same money decreases.
What do you want in a home?
Deciding what type of property is right for you can be difficult. Does the idea of cleaning out your own gutters make you cringe? Would caring for a large lawn and yard seem too overwhelming? Or, would you rather pay a monthly fee and have those things done for you? Perhaps you would like to live in a condo, townhome, or a Planned Unit Development. Are you the hands-on type who doesn’t mind getting your hands dirty, or you enjoy looking proudly at what you’ve accomplished when done? Do you dream of caring for a well-manicured yard or garden? A single family dwelling could be right up your alley.
We Can Help
You need an experienced agent who is dedicated to helping you bring your dream into reality. When you work with someone from our real estate team, you gain an impressive ally who will guide you to home options that meet your goals, desires, and financial situation to help you find a residence that you’ll love owning for years to come. It’s important to know that agent commissions are paid by the seller, not the buyer, so our services are provided at no cost to you!
Keep your objectives in mind when you start visiting homes. Purchasing a home can be an extremely emotional time for you and it’s important to not let your feelings overwhelm you. It's wise to start with a list of the features that you most need and want in a home and keep those items in mind, rather than being distracted by details that might steer you towards something out of your reach. After each showing, your agent can go over the pros and cons with you and help you stay on track, while always being on the lookout for other options for you, as well.
When making an offer your experienced agent will prepare the paperwork, review the details with you, and answer any questions you may have, prior to submitting the offer. Be cautiously optimistic to avoid being overly disappointing if the seller rejects or counters your initial offer. Remember that there are many, many properties on the market and rest assured that your agent will work diligently on your behalf until you are a homeowner! Once your offer is accepted by a seller, be prepared to make an Earnest Money deposit to prove the seriousness of your offer. Generally Chapman-Richards or a title company will hold this deposit and it will be credited to your final sales price at closing.
Get the necessary inspections done by a qualified home inspector. Home inspectors thoroughly check for evidence of pest infestations, wiring issues, leaks, and for harmful materials such as asbestos, lead-based paint, or mold. This is a very crucial time in your purchase and you want to be prepared for any situation. Not getting a home inspection could mean that you end up stuck in a home that has damage or repairs that would then become your responsibility to repair or remediate. Most inspections cost a few hundred dollars, but very much worth it in the end. Your agent will gladly provide you with several referrals, if desired.
Do a final walkthrough of the home before closing your transaction. Your agent will gladly accompany you to help ensure that all agreed upon repairs have been completed prior to the final settlement.
From the moment you first meet with your agent to the time you are handed the keys to your new home, we'll be there for you every step of the way!
Contact us for more information about first-time home purchasing.