Your first house can either be one of the best purchases of your life yet or one of the worst. Many people who jump into this big purchase without doing the proper research often end up with buyer’s remorse. They realize soon enough that the mortgage they’re paying is too high, the house has depreciated a lot since its purchase, and they’re not equipped to maintain it.
If you want to spare yourself from these problems, there are five important questions you have to answer before finalizing your decisions.
Question 1: Why Do You Want to Buy a Home Now?
Your reason for buying a house plays a huge role in the success of your purchase. If you’re taking the plunge now simply because of peer pressure or the notion that it’s cheaper than renting, then maybe reconsider for now. This is especially true if you’re being driven by the idea that this purchase will save you more money in the long run. Take note that this is true only in some cases and not all.
Renting can actually be the better choice depending on where you are in your life or career. If you’re still eyeing job opportunities in another region or country, buying a house might prevent you from relocating.
Be completely honest with yourself when identifying your reasons. The clearer they are to you, the greater the likelihood that you’ll be happy with your purchase.
Question 2: Are You Working with A Reliable Agent?
Having a trustworthy real estate agent on your side makes the process of finding and buying a house so much easier. They’ll listen to your needs and preferences and give you options that meet them.
Perhaps what you’re after is a safe environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Since you’re big on sustainability, you’ll want to buy land only and design the house yourself. Your agent should find you land for sale and help you get a feel of the community.
Test their knowledge on the local market, and trust your gut. If you feel that the agent is only after the sale, you might want to move on to the next one.
Question 3: Can You Afford the Mortgage?
It’s important to have an objective view of your financial capabilities. Hire an accountant to help you sort your finances and determine what 25 percent of your gross income is. This is the recommended amount of your total mortgage. It’s better not to exceed this percentage if you have debts and other big obligations, as they can compromise your ability to pay your mortgage on time.
Ideally, your monthly mortgage and debt payment combined shouldn’t reach even 50 percent of your gross income. When they do, you run the risk of getting your house foreclosed. It’s best to play it safe and be as realistic as possible about what you can and cannot pay. If you find that you don’t have the financial capacity yet to buy a home, at least you’re aware now of how much more you should earn and save before you make another attempt.
Question 4: How Did The Home Inspection Turn Out?
You must never purchase a house without hiring a professional to inspect it first. Home inspections exist to spare you from costly repairs. A house may look structurally sound to you, but home inspectors know where to look to determine if there are problems in its foundation, construction, plumbing, electrical wiring, and so on. Based on the results, you’ll be able to gauge whether the amount you’ll be paying is worth it.
Will buying the house as it is and then paying for the repairs be cheaper? Or are you better off buying a more structurally sound house outright? Many homeowners end up frustrated with their purchases because they underestimated the cost of repairs. Save yourself from these troubles and let a home inspector give you the lowdown on the houses you’re considering.
Question 5: Are You Really Ready For It?
There’s more to buying a house than paying the mortgage. When you become a homeowner, you’re responsible for maintaining every aspect of it, from the garden and the fence to the roof and the heating system. Expect that a certain percentage of your earnings will go to repairs and upgrades, and it will warrant more sacrifice than you may be willing to make.
If you have the money and the emotional capacity to undertake this responsibility, then, by all means, buy the house. Otherwise, it’s best to rethink your options and identify ways to prepare yourself for homeownership.
Don’t Be in a Rush
The worst thing you can do is to rush into buying a house. Take your time and perform a careful assessment of your situation. Remember that this is a costly purchase, and you can’t take it back once you hand over your downpayment. The more certain you are of this purchase, the better.