Buying your first home can be a very exciting milestone in a person’s life. It is very easy to picture all of the good times you will have there in the future, but many people get lost in the excitement and forget to plan for a rainy day. To avoid losing that home to unforeseen circumstances down the line such as a job loss or an illness, keep these things in mind when considering purchasing your first home.
- Make sure that you have enough in savings to cover your mortgage while you find a new job, should you lose your job. Many experts recommend at the very least to have six months worth of savings to cover all expenses, including the mortgage.
- Understand before purchasing your home, all of the expenses that will be involved to maintain the home. If you are considering purchasing a fixer-upper, make a list of all of the inevitable things that will need to be replaced or repaired and their costs.
- Consider your other expenses, such as your car payment or transportation costs, taxes, etc. and whether or not this new home will be affordable for you.
For more information on the First-time home buyer tax credit go to Federal Housing.
Choosing the right community is so important, as how you can you really love where you live unless you love the neighborhood? In the frenzy of finding a home and scheduling moving day, many people forget that researching the neighborhood is one of the most important ways to insure happiness at your new destination. Before making your final decision on a home, don’t forget to:
- “Profile” the neighborhood. Ask yourself these questions: Is the quality of the school system important? Is the commute do-able for you? Do you like to be within walking distance to shops and restaurants? Do you like quiet?
- Once you zero in on a neighborhood you like you must research all school information, crime statistics, parks and recreation, neighborhood association fees and tourist attractions. Armed with this information it will be easy to make a wise decision for you.
- Take the time to visit. Don’t downplay your first impression. Take note of the community’s rush hour patterns, it’s social ability factor, it’s streetlights at night. Drive by the schools. Shop in the local grocery store. Try to meet some of your potential neighbors. All of these visual clues can be very revealing.
For more interesting ways to figure out if a neighborhood is right for you click here.
More and more people are considering purchasing houses that are being sold due to foreclosure or at auction. Many of these homes may have had lapses in maintenance or other issues that home buyers must be wary of. Never purchase a home without hiring an inspector to look it over first. Here are some of the problems that you can be on the look out for during the viewing stage, which can cause a buyer significant and costly problems:
- Too many homes for sale on the street. Are any boarded up? Always keep an eye on the other houses near the one that you may purchase. They will tell you a lot about your possible future investment.
- Outdoor maintenance is often very telling of what is going on “underneath”. If the home you are looking at has straggly foundation plants or broken gutters, what else could be wrong?
- Foundation damage is always a major consideration. Check for proper grading and cracks bigger than 1/3 of an inch. Many times this can mean major structural issues.
- Strong odors outside and inside almost always indicate something “bad”. Investigate further.
- Be on the lookout for flickering lights and always check face plates for heat. This could mean faulty wiring.
- Windows with fog or water in between double-paned windows can signify trouble lurking.
- Stains and/or saggy walls usually indicate water damage, mildew or mold. An inspector must check for leaks and mold.
- Keep your eyes peeled during your tour for pests and rodents. Seeing evidence at this early stage is never a positive sign.
Recent data is showing that homes being built today are smaller than they were in the beginning of 2008. In the third quarter of 2008 median home size was 2,090 square feet, down from 2,629 square feet in the second quarter of 2008. With housing prices dropping and the economy weakening, homeowners may be looking at homes with less unused space, more energy efficiency and a home that better fits their overall needs. There is more of an interest in economizing space and making one room of the home a more flexible space that can be used for a myriad of activities. Outdoor kitchens and entertaining areas are becoming more popular as square footage decreases.
Research shows that builders are paying very close attention to what buyers want. The National Association of Home Builders is reporting that 88% of homebuilders surveyed plan to build more smaller homes, and that 89% of homebuilders surveyed claim that they plan to build lower-priced homes.