When it comes to finding the perfect home to rent, your job is much easier because the goal is to find a home that “meets my needs right now” instead of “meets my needs for the next 20 years.” Plain and simple, making the decision to purchase a property is a much bigger commitment than renting, both in terms of finances and length of time that you’ll wind up staying in one place.
With that being said, due to the amount you’ll have to invest in your final decision, it’s important to do a bit of upfront homework so you don’t wind up in a bind down the road.
Therefore, if you’re getting ready to buy your first place, there are five things that should be considered in advance.
1.) ADDITIONS TO YOUR LIFE – While it’s important to shop for a space that meets your current space needs, it’s always wise to assume that you might need to make adjustments at a later date should your family expand. Even if kids aren’t in the picture, you never know what other types of changes life may throw at you—such as having a parent move in—so it’s wise to think about your need for extra bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall square footage.
2.) KNOW THE HOME’S CONDITION – Sure, you may not be able to afford a lot of upgrades at first; however, the basics should still be in working order. Before making the final decision to purchase, you’ll want to have the property thoroughly inspected so you don’t find yourself stuck with a complete money pit. Speak with your real estate agent about this process and feel free to ask for the names of reputable inspectors.
3.) BE CAREFUL OF EXPECTING PERFECTION – Much like a first job, first homes tend to represent a stepping stone to something better, so finding the right place is often a matter of balancing your wants and needs with what you can reasonably afford. Make a list of “must-haves,” “nice-haves,” and “not necessary to-haves,” and focus on the areas where you don’t mind compromising. Are you willing to sacrifice a three-car garage for a larger kitchen? Is the larger home worth it if it’s in a less desirable neighborhood? Only you can measure the importance of the amenities you’re looking for.
4.) REMEMBER TO ACCOUNT FOR ALL OF THE COSTS OF OWNERSHIP – When you’re renting, things like regular maintenance and repairs are the responsibility of your landlord; however, one of the key aspects of homeownership is that the property becomes yours and yours alone. Therefore, don’t forget to account for the fact that your budget will need to include those extra living costs such as utilities, trash pick-up, sewage fees, HOA dues, and other routine maintenance costs. When approving your home loan, your lending will not factor in these extra costs, so it’s important to calculate them in advance. If you’re unsure of how to do this, speak with your real estate agent to determine the appropriate price range for you.
5.) ALL THINGS HAVE A LIFESPAN – Manmade things break and deteriorate, so it’s important to not only identify a potential home’s flaws before you buy, but to have an understanding of its components. When will the roof need to be replaced? How old is the furnace? What kind of shape are the appliances and carpet in? Sure, everything may be in working order now, but all homes will need these types of repairs or replacements eventually, so it’s wise to research the expected lifespan of the larger-ticket items in your potential home.
When you’re ready to get the process started, please contact me. I’d love to help you along the way.
Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789
2014 RE/MAX All Properties Top Sales Associate of the Year