One of the biggest purchases of your life, buying a house, is not an easy decision to make. Before you fall in love with a beautiful mansion that will turn into a money pit, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
Do I want to own a house?
If you know you have a stable lifestyle and you do not plan to move or to change carrier in the next five years, you might be ready for a house. On the other hand, if you like to travel a lot and dream of an international carrier, house ownership might not be for you yet.
Can I afford a house?
Knowing what you can comfortably afford, without feeling strapped is important. There needs to be some flexibility in your budget for unforeseen repairs or higher heating costs. Buying a house that is within your means will allow you to go through the ups and downs of the economy without too much worry.
Where do I want to live?
As a future homeowner, you need to select the neighbourhood where you want to move to carefully. Consider the factors that are important to you such as the proximity of schools, parks, church and stores. What elements are you looking for in a community and which community best suits you are also questions you should consider before you begin house hunting.
Do I need a realtor?
Most people do. A realtor’s job is to help you find the house that best suits your needs. They have access to a large number of listings and can select viewings according to your specifications. This will save you time and money down the road, even if you must pay their commission fees when you decide to buy.
Do I need a house inspection?
Absolutely! After visiting numerous houses, you found the one that you like the most and would like to buy it. It is essential that you request an inspection. Unless you are an experienced house builder yourself who knows the building codes by heart, you need someone else writing up a building defects report for the house of your dreams. Knowing what you are getting into before you buy is precious. You do not want to unknowingly purchase a fixer-upper unless this was truly your intention.
Do I need to be pre-approved for a mortgage?
Although not essential, this step places you ahead of the competition if other people are interested in the house of your choice. Furthermore, it makes things go faster and smoother when you are ready to sign a contract.
As the process progress, you and your real estate agent will eventually make an offer on a house you like. If that is the case, do not get attached to the house right away. It is not because you liked it and you made an offer that the house will automatically go to you. So, take your time, be patient, don’t place all your eggs in the same basket and eventually, you will be lucky and find the house that is perfect for you.