Buying a house is a complex legal transaction; there are many components that go into the home-buying process to enable you to own your own piece of real estate. Whether you are looking for luxury real estate, an investment property or a new family home for you to grow into, being aware of some of the more important and often overlooked aspects of the process can help you to make sure you are ready and prepared.
The Right Realtor
The listing agent will have the seller’s interests at heart and will be working to get them the best deal. Choosing a realtor who works both sides of the fence will mean they ultimately pocket commission from both parties and won’t necessarily have your best interest at heart. You need to find a trusted realtor who isn’t doing dual duties and is working to get you the best deal for the right home, not just simply looking for a big payday.
Talk to a few different realtors to get a feel for what they can offer and what working with them will be like and gauge what their interests are in the process.
Buying a house is a big commitment. It isn’t like signing a lease where you can end the contract after a short period of time. You will be tied into your commitment for many years to come, and you need to be ready to take on this long-term. You need to know what it entails, what the details mean for you now and going forward, and how to get out of it legally with a well-thought exit plan if need be and things don’t work out the way you expect. Get things in writing regarding title, deeds, repairs, etc., with the help of an excellent lawyer to have yourself covered for every eventuality.
When you get accepted for a mortgage, you will be given the maximum amount lenders are confident you can afford. However, we all know life doesn’t always go to plan, and the costs of owning a house differ significantly from renting. When doing your sums, you need to consider the monthly cost of your mortgage repayments, insurance, taxes, repairs, bills, etc. Some lenders suggest that a third of your income should be for mortgage payments alone, while others suggest 28% of your income should be for mortgage, insurance and taxes combined. Don’t overextend yourself financially or forget to add all payments into your budget to be confident you can afford it.
The bigger the property, the higher the tax you will pay. While buying a bigger house and thinking you can save money on the home interest mortgage deduction can be tempting, this isn’t always true. Remember, the longer you own your home, the less interest you will owe, so the lower the deductions over time. So avoid thinking you will size up to get some tax relief, as this could backfire on you. Talk to your accountant or realtor to ensure you don’t make incorrect financial decisions based on incorrect tax information.
Location is the one thing you cannot change about a property. If you wish, you could knock down the whole building and start again, but you can’t move where it is. So, a key consideration you need to be fully aware of is the area you choose to buy in. Does it work for you? For example, is it practical regarding your lifestyle, work, schools, and medical care facilities? Does it have easy transport links and offer you everything you need? While the house itself might be stunning, you will never be truly happy if the location is wrong. It doesn’t need to be perfect forever, just perfect for right now.
Buying a house is a massive commitment over a long period of time. Even if you don’t plan on staying there forever, this is simply a stepping stone. Ideally, you will want to avoid buying a house for your life right now. The reason is that even if you don’t have any significant changes planned, life has this knack of throwing things at you when you least expect it. So buying a one-bedroom condo might suit you right now, but your life might change 6, 12 or 36 months down the line, meaning this isn’t suitable for you any longer. Try to buy your new property with your future in mind. What do you want your life to look like in a few years? Where do you see yourself? This can help you to buy a property to grow into instead of out of in no time.
Do You Really Want This?
Lastly, one thing you should not overlook when preparing to buy a house is how much you want to do this and why you are doing this. Sure, buying your own home is part of the American dream, but whose dream is it? Owning a home is a big responsibility, and not everyone is ready or suited for this kind of commitment. Ask yourself why you are doing this. Is it because it is expected of you? Or are your parents pushing you, or even your spouse or partner? Do you have genuine reasons why you want to be a homeowner, and is the process filling you with excitement or dread? There is no shame in admitting you’re not ready for this now or ever and renting, can be a better alternative.
Buying a house comes with a lot of stress, planning, and considerations before you even get to the fun part of moving in. It’s an arduous process that requires you to be confident you are doing it for the right reasons, that you understand the gravitas of what you are taking on, and that you are emotionally ready, financially ready, and mature enough to be able to cope with the pressure of being a homeowner and everything that goes with it. Take your time, talk it over with people you trust, and make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before doing anything.