One of the biggest purchases you will make during your lifetime is a home, and it can also be one of the most important ones. To help you not end up with a mortgage payment that is too large to handle or a home that you grow out of in the first year after moving in, for example, you want to make a smart decision with this important step in your life. Here are some important considerations you need to think about when you are looking at homes for sale, especially for your first time.
Look at Financing Options
Before you begin to look at homes, you should meet with a mortgage broker to determine the financing available and the total loan amount you qualify for based on your credit and income. There are also many lending programs available. If you are buying for the first time, ask your lender about first-time home buying programs, which can offer a lower interest rate and low down payment options. If you are a veteran and qualify for a VA loan, talk to your lender about this, as you can get a loan requiring no down payment and no requirement to pay mortgage insurance premiums.
Your lender will pre-qualify you with a mortgage limit, which you can use as a guide to begin your search for homes. This pre-qualification will also guarantee you financing on a loan, which can strengthen your offer to a home seller, especially if you are bidding on a home against other buyers.
Consider Your Needs
You have many options on the style and size of home to buy, and you also have a choice in its condition and the amount of work you will need to put into a home. Not all homes are perfect when you buy them; some are move-in-ready, and others need quite a bit of work to make them great. The home you choose can either need any amount of work or be ready for you to relax on your downtime.
Buying a home that needs any amount of work can help you save on the upfront purchase cost, as you can put work and money into it over time and help build up the home's equity. Always consider the types of repairs a home will need by hiring a professional inspection or getting free estimates on professional work to find out what a home will need for repairs. You can consider completing projects yourself that you have the skills or training to handle, such as drywall, painting walls or over existing cupboards, or installing new tile flooring.
Keep in mind that some projects will need to be handled immediately upon moving in, while others can be completed slowly. For example, a leaky roof or a broken hot water heater will need replacement immediately, whereas damaged drywall can wait to be repaired.