Buying a home sets the stage for owning it and as obvious as that might seem, many home buyers fail to recognize it. They get caught up in the excitement of buying a home and don’t consider their long term needs and goals as part of the home buying process. As a result, they often end up unhappy with the home long before they planned to sell it. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. Some extra thought and planning while shopping for your next home can leave you satisfied with your home purchase for as long as you live there.
It is important that buyers take their time and do their homework when shopping for a home. Once you sign on the dotted line, that home is yours and it isn’t cheap or easy to sell. The last thing anyone wants to do is buy a house only to find out you hate it after less than a year because there is more traffic than expected, the drive to work is awful, the schools really aren’t as good as everyone said or you can’t afford to remodel the tiny galley kitchen after all.
What about tomorrow?
A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders says buyers will stay in their home an average of 13 years before moving out. You may not expect to live in your home for that long but what happens if life gets in the way of your plans? Would you be able to live in this house longer if you had to? To the best of your ability, choose a home you will be comfortable in for as long as you live there.
Emotions can sometimes blind us to common sense and in the case of buying a home they can drown us. Your wallet should have the final word on which house you buy. If you have the thought, “Wow, that mortgage payment is high but my income will go up soon so it shouldn’t be painful after a year or two” then the payment is too high and you probably shouldn’t make an offer on the house.
Just because you qualify for a given payment doesn’t mean it will be easy to make. Buy with a fixed rate mortgage and a payment you can afford. Then if your income does actually go up you will have even more cash flow for vacations, paying down principal, saving for retirement or to save for your next house.
No More Landlord
One of the great things about renting is if something like the furnace breaks it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix or replace it. Buying a home means YOU own it and if anything breaks it is coming out of your pocket. Be prepared for the unexpected by setting up a savings account with enough money to cover the most expensive repair you might be faced with like replacing a furnace or leaky roof.
Also, be prepared for monthly expenses that you might not have had to pay while renting. We have had a few buyers tell us they wouldn’t have budgeted for something like garbage, water, sewer or gas if we hadn’t reminded them about it. While a $40 monthly sewer payment by itself might not break the bank, $200/month in unexpected utility bills could be a lifestyle changer.