Thinking About Buying Your First Home?


Thinking about purchasing a home of your own? Keep these critical considerations in mind:


How long you plan to live in the home.
If you purchase a home and get a job transfer or decide to move after only a short time, you may end up paying money in order to sell it. The value of your home may not have appreciated enough to cover the costs that you paid to buy the home and the costs that it would take you to sell your home.

HappyPeople03.jpgThe length of time that it will take to cover those costs depends on various economic factors in the area of the home. Most parts of the country have an average of 5% appreciation per year. In this case, you should plan to stay in your home at least 3-4 years to cover buying and selling costs. If the area you buy your home in experiences an economic up turn, the length of the time to cover these costs could be shortened, and the opposite is also true.


How long the home will meet your needs.
What features do you require in a home to satisfy your lifestyle now? Five years from now? Depending on how long you plan to stay in your home, you'll need to ensure that the home has the amenities that you'll need. For example, a two-bedroom dwelling may be perfect for a young couple with no children. However, if they start a family, they could quickly outgrow the space. Therefore, they should consider a home with room to grow. Could the basement be turned into a den and extra bedrooms? Could the attic be turned into a master suite? Having an idea of what you'll need will help you find a home that will satisfy you for years to come.


Your financial health - your credit and home affordability.
Is now the right time financially for you to buy a home? Would you rate your financial picture as healthy? Is your credit good? While you can always find a lender to lend you money, solid lenders are more skeptical if your credit history is not good. Generally, a couple of blemishes on a credit report will make you a good credit risk and could qualify you for the lowest interest rates. If you have more than a couple of blemishes on your report, lenders like Quicken Loans may still provide you with a loan, but you may just have to pay a higher interest rate and fees.

Some say that you should refrain from borrowing as much as you qualify for because it is wiser not to stretch your financial boundaries. The other school of thought says you should stretch to buy as much home as you can afford, because with regular pay raises and increased earning potential, the big payment today will seem like less of a payment tomorrow. This is a decision only you can make. Are you in a position where you expect to make more money soon? Would you rather be conservative and fairly certain that you can make your payment without stretching financially? Make sure that whatever you do, it's within your comfort zone.

To determine how much home you can afford, talk to a lender or go online and use a "home affordability" calculator. Good calculators will give you a range of what you may qualify for. Then call a lender. While some may say that the "28/36" rule applies, in today's home mortgage market, lenders are making loans customized to a particular person's situation. The "28/36" rule means that your monthly housing costs can't exceed 28 percent of your income and your total debt load can't exceed 36 percent of your total monthly income. Depending on your assets, credit history, job potential and other factors, lenders can push the ratios up to 40-60% or higher. While we're not advocating you purchase a home utilizing the higher ratios, its important for you to know your options.


Where the money for the transaction will come from.
Typically homebuyers will need some money for a down payment and closing costs. However, with today's broad range of loan options, having a lot of money saved for a down payment is not always necessary - if you can prove that you are a good financial risk to a lender. If your credit isn't stellar but you have managed to save 10-20% for a down payment, you will still appear to be a very good financial risk to a lender.


The ongoing costs of home ownership.
Maintenance, improvements, taxes and insurance are all costs that are added to a monthly house payment. If you buy a condominium, townhouse or in certain communities, a monthly homeowner's association fee might be required. If these additional costs are a concern, you can make choices to lower or avoid these fees. Be sure to make your realtor and your lender aware of your desire to limit these costs.

If you are still unsure if you should buy a home after making these considerations, you may want to consult with an accountant or financial planner to help you assess how a home purchase fits into your overall financial goals.

Strategic Planning, Thought and Decision Processes

This article is from RealtyTimes.com and is titled "What Keeps Buyers from Buying their next Home"- some language was modifed and updated by S. Ramu



Buying a home is like searching for a mate. You'll go on many first dates and in the end, the one that has most, but maybe not all of the characteristics that you want, will win your heart.

However, first-time buyers and sometimes even serial homebuyers are disappointed by how long the process takes. Yet they may not understand how their expectations, beliefs, and lack of action may be causing the delay in finding the right home.

Here are five pitfalls that buyers can fall into that cause them to let the right home slip by.


Seeing a home "as-is". 

It's important that buyers are able to see beyond the "as-is" home. In other words, some buyers walk into a home and are immediately turned off by something as simple as the color of paint which can be easily changed, or maybe it's the carpet or wallpaper. Regardless, when buyers see the home "as-is" without the ability to envision it differently, they do themselves a huge disservice and fall into a pitfall of thinking that the home is not right simply because of the condition they are currently seeing it in.


Not working with a knowledgeable agent.

Buyers can click around the Web looking for open houses and listings but a quality agent can help identify the best-suited properties much faster. An expert agent also often knows about other listings that are about to come on the market and would not be on the Web yet. It's worth it to spend time interviewing agents to find the right one who can help you find the right home. If you fall into the pitfall of trying to do everything on your own, you're likely going to miss seeing some of the houses that might offer the best match for your wants and needs.


Letting the important things slide.

We've all done this when making an expensive purchase. We compromise on something that is important simply because it's less expensive. Later we regret it. Whether it's a new car, new house, or flat screen TV, when you're making large purchases, you need to know which things are important and non-negotiable and then stick to that list. Of course, there may be some small, less important things that you'll compromise on, but if you compromise on something big that is important to you, you're likely going to be disappointed down the road.

There is a reason you were searching for a three-bedroom home. So, for instance, when you fall in love with that quaint, cozy two-bedroom home, remember that you had specific reasons for needing an additional bedroom. If you've clearly defined your living needs and wants before you begin house hunting, you'll have guidelines to keep you on track.

You might find that the smaller home has a secondary unit on the property and, while it's not a third bedroom, it will suit your needs. So, yes, be flexible and think of the possibilities, but do remember your list of what you originally deemed important. The tendency is to get caught up in the moment, either because a home is so charming or because it appears to be such a good deal that you start to say, "Well, I can make-do without that." Maybe you can...but you'd better be certain before you close escrow.


Living strictly in the moment.

So many of us lead hectic lives. But when you're buying a home, you'd better be thinking about the future. What's good for you today will likely need to be good for you for many years to come. So, do your homework to find the right home. Work with your agent to find out how the neighborhood is changing. What future plans are there for the community? Pay attention to the congestion of an area and to the types of retail shops and restaurants that are coming into the community...then compare that to your future plans. You can't always know what lies ahead but many times you can see what types of projects have been proposed for undeveloped land in the area.


Skipping an inspection.

Inspections are critical. They're the equivalent of taking a car you want to buy to your car repair shop for a look before you buy. Just like you don't want to end up with a lemon for a car, you don't want a home that has too many and too costly repairs needed. Inspections give you a "health" check of the home. They let you know what you're in for should you buy the home. You'll be glad you have a report to help validate your reasons for wanting to purchase this home over others.


Avoiding these pitfalls will help you more quickly find the right home and the right investment for your future.


This article is from RealtyTimes.com and is titled "What Keeps Buyers from Buying their next Home" November 2, 2017