Home buying is part of the old fashioned American dream, and that dream is still very much alive for many young adults today. Everyone has an ideal lifestyle in their minds, and owning their own home plays into that ideal for many people. Buyers typically search for their home for ten weeks, and look at ten different homes for sale, on average, and first time home buyers make up about a third of the market, according to recent research. There are so many homes for sale across the nation and so many people looking for homes to buy, that the process can become overwhelming. It can, however, be broken down into manageable pieces.
There are several points that home buyers need to know.
- Find an experienced real estate team or a realtor you can trust. Many people think using a realtor will drive up the cost of the home, but they do not understand that the seller pays the commission, not the buyer. If you are selling your home you will need to factor in the percentage that the realtor will be paid because the buyer is not responsible for that fee. The real estate agent will guide the buyer through the entire process from finding the home, to making the offer, to having the proper inspections carried out, to closing the deal, and everything in between.
- When you are looking at homes for sale, think of your future. Do not buy a home for today, but plan ahead for your future. Are you married or will you be getting married? Will you be adding children to your family? Do you anticipate sharing your home with a relative or friend? Take into consideration the lifestyle you plan to live when you consider what type of home to purchase. In other words, don’t buy for today, buy for tomorrow.
- Unless you plan to spend your spare time on do-it-yourself projects, don’t buy a home that needs a lot of work or that you plan to remodel unless you factor the costs of contractors, permits, and materials into your loan. Consider how much space you need, and look at homes for sale within that parameter. Cosmetic issues can be overlooked; a coat of paint goes a long way to improving the appearance of a room, but learn to differentiate between cosmetic and genuinely problematic areas of the home that you would need to change to accommodate your lifestyle before you commit to the purchase.
- Location is just as important as space. You may prefer to live in a densely populated area, or perhaps you choose to live well outside city limits and commute. Consider the school district when you are looking at homes for sale. Choose a location that meets your individual needs and don’t settle for an area that may seem less expensive now, but in the long run would make reselling your home difficult.
- Purchase a home you can afford. Just because you qualify for a loan of a certain amount does not mean you can afford it. Consider your other commitments such as student loans, car loans, other debt, and your current standard of living. If you need to drop your standard of living or change your lifestyle in order to make the house payment, you may regret your purchase and find yourself in a financial situation above what you are able to maintain.
- You don’t need to purchase a home right this minute. Save up for a down payment and closing costs. Save for possible remodeling or cosmetic improvements. Wait for the right market to make your purchase. You never need to be in a hurry to purchase a home. Refer back to the first point and find a realtor you can trust who will direct you correctly and work with you either now, or later when you are ready to purchase your home.
The main thing to know when looking at homes for sale is that you are in control, and if purchasing a home is part of your American dream, you can be informed about the process and proceed with confidence.