Buying a home is a goal most people share – it’s a great investment, a chance to build equity, and it offers a certain amount of stability that you don’t get as a renter. However, you have to find the right house first.
Set a Realistic Budget
Buying a home is a very long-term commitment. So before you start scrolling through listings or popping into open houses, you need to determine how much house you can realistically afford. Think about expenses that could come up in the next five to seven years and account for them in your housing budget. Your pets may need surgeries, your air conditioning unit may break down, and any number of other expenses may pop up. Set yourself up for success by setting a realistic housing budget for yourself – one that doesn’t exceed 28% of your gross income.
Get Your Money in Order
It takes years of work to get your credit and finances ready to buy a house. The buying process itself can go by in a flash. Be sure to have your money in order before you put in an offer. This will help prevent last-minute disappointments caused by insufficient funds. Some things you may need to fund include inspections, earnest money, closing costs, and of course your down payment.
Don’t Skip Inspections
A common misconception people have is that putting in an offer means you’re going to buy the house. In reality, submitting an offer is usually just the first step toward deciding if you’ll buy. Before buying, you’ll still need to go through a lengthy inspections period to check for unseen problems. Although it can be tempting to speed up your sale by skipping inspections, it’s important to play it safe. Your inspectors will check for mold and pests, inspect the condition of the foundation and crawl spaces they’ll even tell you if the slope of the yard could cause problems with flooding and erosion.