What To Consider When Buying A Home
Purchasing a home for the first time is a stressful but ultimately exciting time. It is the most expensive purchase in your entire life, and it is where you'll put down your roots. It's kind of a big deal really. While it is easy to let the stress bog you down, if you do your diligence you can stay on top of it all and make the best decision possible. With that in mind, we've gathered up a few of our tips for what you want to consider most when looking shopping for your home.
Location, Location, Location
While it may conjure up images of a smarmy realtor in a tweed jacket fast talking you about how a lack of basic amenities is in fact part of the charm, it's a cliché saying because it's true. Once you've purchased a home you can install brand new floors, modernize the bathroom, and totally renovate the kitchen while you're at it. Heck, you can demolish the entire building and start from scratch! Even still, not one of those things is going to change the location.
Didn't realize how grueling an hour-long commute to work would be? Is the nearest grocery store a twenty-minute drive? Are the schools in the area only so-so quality? Well unfortunately you are pretty much out of luck unless you can helicopter to work or decide to open up a Trader Joe's yourself.
That is why the single most important factor in buying a home is the location. However, just because you like an area doesn't mean it is possible to find a home. Location is often limited by the second most important consideration.
Listen, I wouldn't mind having a big house in the Hollywood Hills next to an a-list celebrity and enjoying that good life, but frankly, that just isn't going to happen. If you are like the vast majority of home buyers, you are restricted by a certain budget. Being realistic with that budget is crucial. It's easy to get carried away especially when you walk away with a pre-approval letter that caps out about $200,000 more than you thought you'd ever spend on a home.
It is not uncommon for buyers to bite off a little more than they can chew. Just because you have approval for a certain amount absolutely does not mean you should utilize the full amount. If you stopped at a convenience store to pick up a soda and you have a twenty-dollar bill you don't decide to buy a few cases instead, do you?
Creating a realistic budget and sticking with it is important. You also need to keep in mind that there will likely be some unexpected costs that come up either during the process of buying your home or after the fact. If you spend all of your savings on your down payment and closing costs, you may be ill-prepared when you get a leaky window come wintertime. Simply put, don't get caught up in the excitement of shopping and stick to a plan!
Houses can be the biggest money pits in the world. Heed the advice of your realtor and the inspectors when they tell you about the condition of a house. A house in need of repair is not always a dealbreaker, but it is something to be careful about. Often times you can have a seller fix a few items as part of your offer, or even ask for a home warranty (something you'd request in a Buyer Repair Addendum), but you should be wary of potential repair expenses that will likely come up in the future.
Take for example the estimated cost of these major household fixes:
New Roof: $12,000 - $15,000 (heavily dependent on size)
Sewer Line: $7,500
Full House Rewire: $12,000 - $20,000 (based on 2000 sqft home)
Air Conditioning: $5,651
Foundation Repair: $4,542
It is also important to be realistic about what you can DIY and what you will DIY. It may seem like a fun project to revamp that basement yourself but it is likely far more work than you expect. Many home buyers end up abandoning the projects they thought would make the house worthwhile in the first place. This results in a house that feels half-finished or the extra expense of hiring contractors to finish the job.
At the end of the day, being considerate of the condition of a home is about being realistic when it comes to potential costs and headaches. Everyone will have a different tolerance level for the condition of a home, so what works for you may not be the same as someone else. Listen to your gut here. Be realistic and don't take on more work than is worthwhile.
We've covered the big three on what to consider when buying a home because these are big overarching ideas that are critical to homebuying. Of course, there are the basics you want to consider as well. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, yard size, and other considerations are the basics of shopping for a home. These are things most people are already well aware of by the time they start searching.
When the time comes to buy, one thing that can truly help you stay on track is a qualified realtor. A good realtor will truly understand what it is you are looking for and look out for your best interests. You want someone you can trust, not just someone looking to get you into any house you'll accept.
Looking in Oregon or Washington? Reach out to us and we'll be happy to connect you with a great realtor.