16 Aug Asking the Right Questions When Buying a House
Your rent just went up by $75 per month and you’ve had enough. It’s time to buy a house. More and more frustrated renters are running to the bank to take out a mortgage to purchase a home with an affordable monthly payment. Purchasing a home is certainly exciting, and all that rent money saved is enticing, but before you purchase a home, consider asking yourself a few questions first. After all, the only thing worse than paying rent is feeling buyer’s remorse because you forgot to ask a few questions!
Original or New?
Original features in a home can serve up charm and add significant value if they’re in good shape. These include things like crown molding and hardwood floors. Original windows, while gorgeous, are not on this list. Windows from “back in the day” weren’t made to be energy efficient and many aren’t in great shape. Make sure you ask your agent whether or not they’ll need to be replaced. If they don’t close properly, are sealed with lead-based paint or simply need replaced, you may be looking at a $10,000 bill. Ouch!
Going along with original features is the condition of the house. Purchasing fixer uppers has been made popular by shows on HGTV, but the reality is that these homes require a lot of work. Kitchen and bathroom renovations are the most expensive to complete, so if you don’t have some reno money stashed away, you’ll be footing a hefty bill to make your home livable. Make sure you recognize the renovation and replacement costs of things you’re hoping to change (or needed to be changed) in the home you want to purchase.
Ownership Doesn’t Void Utility Bills
How nice it would be if owning a home meant that all those pesky utility bills disappeared along with rent. Unfortunately, you will still need to pay for utilities when you purchase a home, so it’s important to calculate what the monthly utility bills look like. Homes are typically bigger than your apartment, so utilities may go up. Ask your agent how much the new utility bill will be and budget accordingly. Knowing an estimate of total monthly bills (utilities, mortgage payment, miscellaneous expenses) will allow you to better judge whether or not you can afford the home you want.
What Can I Afford?
Just because you’ve been pre-approved for a $350,000 loan doesn’t mean you can actually afford a house for that much. Business Insider suggests assessing your financial situation before determining anything else in the home buying process. This includes reviewing your monthly income and expenses, savings and investments and debts. Once you know where you stand financially, you can discuss what’s reasonable for you with your lender.
Location as it Relates to Future Goals
Are you hoping to get a promotion at work that will move you internationally? Is your partner wanting to move to another city? Unlike renting, home ownership is a somewhat permanent move. Homeowners typically recover their losses after five years of ownership (closing costs, real estate fees), so if you’re not going to stay put for that long, you need to consider the financials. Ask yourself where you want to be in five years; if it aligns with buying a home and staying there, go for it!
Ready to Buy?
So now that you know the right questions to ask both yourself and your agent, it’s time to evaluate whether or not it makes sense to buy a home. If it is a great time for you to buy a home, contact us to learn more about our beautiful homes. We’d love to show you what our homes have to offer and why we’re known for being one of the best!