When Jacob and I first started thinking about buying a home, I remember feeling totally lost. I felt like a child pretending to be an adult. I really had no idea what I was doing! Which makes it even more ridiculous that I’m the one writing this post. But the more we dug into the process, started looking at houses, and discussed what we both wanted, the more I learned. I’m definitely no expert, but I feel much more knowledgeable about the whole process now that I’ve been through it! So, if you’re thinking of buying your first home, I’d suggest taking a few things into consideration:
Know your priorities.
It’s nearly impossible to find a piece of property that fits all of your needs, especially when you have a budget to keep in mind. So it’s super important to figure out what your priorities are, and their order of importance. I also suggest prioritizing things that you can’t change. For example, we knew we needed space, enough space so that we could each have a place to go when we wanted some alone time. Tons of natural light was super important to us as well because it really affects our mood. Lastly, we realized the places we got most excited about had some sort of yard for the dog.
We also would have loved vaulted ceilings, an updated kitchen, and something walkable to downtown. But the more we looked, the clearer we got on what was most important to us. So, we ended up getting the space we needed (3 bedrooms plus 2 bonus rooms!), great natural light and a good-sized the yard. We sacrificed the updates, knowing we could change those things down the road.
Avoid money pits.
Before we even considered a home, we wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be a money pit. So we looked for any major issues, including the foundation, the roof, drainage, plumbing, electrical, etc. We knew we’d end up spending money to fix things in the house, but we wanted to at least avoid any major issues that would eat up our entire budget. Even if we saw potential in a home or loved everything about it, we took it off our list immediately if it had any of these major issues.
Find out how much you’re approved for.
It’s also important to know your budget so you can narrow down your options, of course. The easiest way to do this is to find out what you’re even approved for, so you know the max amount you could potentially get a loan for. Now, that doesn’t mean you should aim your budget as high as it can go, but it’s a good place to start. From there, get an idea of how much you’d want to spend each month. Then, you can use a mortgage calculator to see what your monthly payments would be if you were to take out a loan for x amount. You can adjust until it makes sense for you.
Consider resell potential.
If you’re not planning to stay in your home for thirty years, you may want to consider its resell potential. More specifically, I’d consider the location. Is it desirable? Does it have a good school system? Is it safe? I’d also consider basic things like the house’s layout. Is it an easy layout that makes sense to the majority of people? Or is it too quirky for a typical family? Curb appeal is another important one. A lot of these factors depend on your market and where you live, but just try to look at your home from a potential buyer’s perspective. Would other people want this house besides me?