10 Things To Consider When Buying A House

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According to the latest data, approximately one-third of home buyers are first-time buyers. Are you getting ready to purchase your first home? Are you unsure of what to look for or what to focus on during your search? 

If the idea of buying a house feels daunting to you, keep reading. Listed below are 10 important things to consider when buying a house. 

1. Find The Right Realtor 

Buying your first home can be a stressful experience, for sure. You can reduce your stress, though, by working with the right realtor. 

Talk to several realtors before deciding whom you want to hire. Consider how well you get along with them, as well as their experience working with buyers like you. 

It helps to reach out to past clients of theirs, too. This gives you a chance to see what others have to say about a particular realtor before you commit to working with them. 

2. Prepare To Negotiate 

A lot of first-time homebuyers don't realize that they aren't obligated to agree to contracts as they're presented. Contracts are meant to be negotiated, after all. 

Don't let yourself get so intimidated by paperwork that you just sign on the dotted line and don't dig deeper into the specific information that the paperwork contains. 

Read through everything with care and take note of anything that seems questionable to you. Then, sit down with your realtor and talk to them about negotiating something different that's a better fit for you and your family. 

3. Think About The Future 

When it comes to things to do when buying a house, it's important to think about your future needs. Don't just focus on what you need and want right now. 

For example, do you want to have kids? If so, then it makes sense to buy a house with more bedrooms so that everyone will have their own space later on. 

Think, too, about how your career and income might change over time as well. Maybe you work on a freelance basis or make your money mainly from commissions. If this is the case, you'll need to make sure that you buy a house you can afford even when your income fluctuates. 

4. Look Beyond Purchase Price 

The purchase price matters, of course. Remember, though, that there are lots of other expenses that you need to take into account. The following are some of the other costs that will add to your monthly payment: 

• Insurance 
• HOA fees 
• Property taxes 
• Utilities 

Consider the cost of potential improvements and updates you might want to make to the house, too. All of this matters when you're creating a budget and calculating what you can afford to spend on your first home. 

5. Know Your Downpayment Options 

When you start thinking about buying a house, it's a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. This helps you get an idea of what you can afford. It can also help you figure out how much you need to save for a downpayment. 

The average downpayment is about 20 percent of the cost of the house. However, some loans come with lower downpayment options. An FHA loan, which is secured by the Federal Housing Administration, for example, requires just a 3.5 percent downpayment as long as your credit score is above 580. 

6. Walk Around The Neighborhood 

Remember, when you're buying a house, you need to account for more than the property itself. Take a walk around the neighborhood and think about whether or not it's a place you want to live long-term. 

Is it noisier than you'd like? Do the neighbors seem friendly? Is it located close to your job, grocery stores, or restaurants? 

If you're going to be having children in the near future, it pays to look into the schools your kids will attend, too. What is the school district like? Are there any complaints about the schools that you should take into consideration? 

7. Assess The Appliances 

Nobody wants to move into a new home, only to find shortly after that the stove doesn't work or the refrigerator is on its last leg. Take a good look at the appliances when shopping for houses and find out how old they are before making a final decision. 

An old appliance might not necessarily be a dealbreaker. However, you'll need to factor in the cost of updates when you're calculating what you can afford. 

8. Ask About The HOA 

Some houses are part of a Homeowners Association or HOA. If this is the case, you'll pay a fee each month to cover certain amenities, such as a community pool or playground. In some cases, your HOA fees might also cover utilities like water and trash removal. 

Before you invest in a particular home, find out how much the HOA fees are and what's included in them. You may want to talk to some neighbors and ask about how strict the members of the HOA are, too. 

9. Keep A Level Head 

It's easy to get stressed out or overwhelmed during the homebuying process. Do your best to keep a level head, though. If you make a quick decision based on a temporary emotion (you're scared a house is going to get sold to someone else if you don't act immediately, for example), you could end up in a more difficult situation later on. 

10. Always Get An Inspection 

House inspections are a very important part of buying a home. In many cases, they're required before you can move forward with a purchase. 

Even if you don't have to get an inspection, though, it's still a good idea to do so. It can help to alert you to potential issues with the house. That way, you can make sure that the seller fixes them (or lowers their asking price to make up for the expense of you fixing them) before they move forward with the sale. 

You Know What Things To Consider When Buying A House: Now What? 

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when buying a house. If you've been feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to begin, be sure to keep these property factors in mind as you move forward with your real estate search. 

Do you want to learn more about what to know before buying a home? Do you have questions about real estate in general? 

If so, we have lots of other home buying and property management resources available on our site. Visit the Real Estate section of the Frugal Finance Blog today for some additional home buyer information.