Buying your first home can be exciting and should be one of the milestones in life that you look back on with a smile, knowing it was the beginning of something great. Yet for some, it marks the beginning of an unexpected journey into the unknown, where they meet challenges and hurdles they never expected. Fortunately, there is no reason for this, owning a home is simple and with a little guidance you can make certain it is a positive life experience.
There are three main things to consider when buying your first home. The first is the fixed cost of your mortgage, taxes and insurance. The second is making certain the home is the right size, has the right floor plan, and is located in a neighborhood and street where you will be happy. The third is that you fully understand the condition of the home; this is the most often overlooked, yet an important part of buying your first home.
Understanding the impact your monthly mortgage payment plus taxes and insurance will have on your lifestyle and budget is a personal choice and is relative to your lifestyle. The most common piece of advice that you will hear from those who have owned several homes, is that you should avoid buying a house where the fixed costs strain your budget. What constitutes a strain on your budget is your decision, but remember that you need to leave room for regular maintenance, life changes, costs related to decorating, and your future plans for buying large ticket items like cars or appliances as well as the amount of disposable income, also known as spending cash, you like to have.
Once you know your budget constraints, it is a good idea to take a good look at the home you are buying from an objective perspective. This is because many people buy a home with emotion and then realize that the home is not on the best street, does not have large enough bedrooms, or that you wish it had extra space or more rooms. These are all things that people think about when buying their second home, but oftentimes forget on their first.
There are many home builders and remodelers that compromise when building a home, designing the floor plan, or considering features because they know they are building a “first time buyer” home and that the new buyer will not notice until it is too late. Think about things such as counter space, electrical outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms, depth of closets, and where all of your furniture will be placed. It is amazing how many homes in Utah have rooms that look great before you buy, but when you move in you realize there is no place for the wall mount TV and couch.
Lastly, take a moment to understand, though you already know it, that you will no longer have a landlord. This is important because routine maintenance and repairs will now be your responsibility and even if you never saw or noticed your past landlord or parents fixing their home regularly, homes need maintenance and repairs.
This is why it critical for anyone buying their first home to spend the money for a thorough pre-home purchase inspection so you know exactly what you are buying. In addition to this, getting a home warranty is not a bad option, especially for a previously owned home that may have problems that neither you nor the inspector discover before the purchase.
The best advice that you can get when it comes to maintenance and repairs is to take advantage of the internet and learn what it takes to maintain a home. From changing the batteries on the smoke alarms to maintaining the caulking around toilets and sinks, understanding and doing regular maintenance keeps a home beautiful, helps it retain value, and helps you avoid costly repairs. If you do encounter repairs, even if you are hiring a contractor to do the work, look up the repair online so you understand how the work should be done. This way you can ensure quality work while at the same time have an understanding of how much time the repair should take and how much it should cost, saving you from ever overpaying.
These three things are the main guideposts that you need to follow in buying your first home. Making certain you have each fully understood will lay the foundation for countless positive memories that will last a lifetime.