If you’re thinking about buying your first home, there are loads of questions to ask and things you need to know. Buying a home is both a joy and one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. It’s important to know in advance what steps you should take to be prepared, what to do during your home search process, and how to handle the final steps once you are closing on your new home. In Charleston, there are so many different neighborhoods and areas. If this is your first time buying, location is a huge factor, as this no longer a temporary residence like it is when you’re renting.
I’ve provided all kinds of fun tips and useful tools to help educate you and hopefully give you an idea of what you might expect in the home buying process from start to finish. You can browse through these different documents from the “First-Time Home Buyers” tab on the homepage.
To begin with, some questions you will want to ask yourself or discuss with your partner and family are:
Can you afford the costs associated with buying a home? Although you can buy a home with a low down payment, the more you put down, the lower your mortgage will be. Also there are other costs including home inspections and taxes. Plan to budget around 2-4% of the total value of your home to be able to handle these expenses with ease. Also you will need to make sure you have enough in your savings to pay for any repairs and necessary upkeep.
Do you have enough of an emergency fund?
Some people make the mistake of using all their savings to fund their home purchase but this can leave homeowners unprepared in case of a sudden illness, unemployment, or other emergency. It is best to have enough money readily available that you could survive for at least six months without your regular paycheck.
Will your circumstances be changing soon?
Are you planning a family, getting married, or going back to school? All of these changes will impact both your lifestyle and your financial future. It’s important that the home you choose be the right size for you not just now but over the next few years?
Will you want to move in a few years?
In order get the most out of your investment you will likely want to make sure that you are going to stay put for a few years. If you have plans to move within a year or so you may want to wait until then. You don’t want to be in the position of needing to move and having to sell your home quickly.
Filling out your home checklist
Once you have answered these questions, it’s time to start narrowing down your specifics. Realtor.com has created a handy worksheet to help you narrow down price, square footage, number of bedrooms and more. If you are making this purchase with another person it may make sense to each fill out your lists separately and then come together to compare notes. That way you each get to see each others true feelings. Make sure that your wishes are aligned with reality. Also remember that the house that you are imagining while filling out this worksheet may not match with what is available in the area. Location is still the most important factor when choosing the home that is both right for you and has good resale potential so be ready to factor in the proximity to major roads, school districting, crime levels, and other considerations once you are out shopping.