Owning your own home has long been part of the American dream. It's a goal most of us rightfully aspire to, and one that can often help build wealth. Indeed, 64% of Americans own a home today. If'
FIVE Things To Consider As You Prepare To Buy A Starter Homes
Is buying now really a good idea? Take a look at your lifestyle, your job, your family situation and your budget to determine if this is the right time to lock yourself into a home for five to seven years.
Do you have enough money? Looking just at the mortgage payment gives you an incomplete picture, Carr says. "A lot of people just go straight to the mortgage payment," she says, figuring that they can afford a payment equal to or slightly more than their rent. "That's a gross oversimplification." Be sure to add up the additional cost of property taxes, homeowners insurance, condo or homeowner association fees, utilities and maintenance. Every home, even a new home, will need repairs and preventive maintenance.
Drill down and separate what you need from what you want. Before you even look at homes, figure out what compromises you are willing to make. Location for space? A second bathroom for modern finishes? A great neighborhood for your own yard?
Get a good home inspection. If you're buying an existing home, as 88 percent of the buyers in the Realtors' survey did, accompany your home inspector and take notes. He or she will give you an excellent overview of how long the major components or your home will likely last, making it easier for you to plan for replacements during your ownership.
Know what's easy to change and what isn't. First-time homebuyers often have no experience renovating homes, so they don't realize what features and finishes are easy and inexpensive to change and what is likely to become a major project. Real estate agents and home inspectors can provide insight on these topics, and you can also do your own research. Changing all the carpet before you move in, for example, is normally not difficult and is not nearly as expensive as adding wood floors. New kitchen counters are much less expensive than new cabinets. Rewiring a house is expensive, but changing a light fixture is not.
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