Buying a house is a big deal. It’s not a decision you should make lightly. A home is a commitment of at least 30 years. However, for many, it’s a lifetime. Now, don’t let that scare you. We learn the most when we step outside of the comfort zone. Trust us, buying a house is definitely stepping outside of that comfort zone. So, take a breath and look over these 7 things before you’re ready to put in an offer.
Research the Area
When you buy a home, you’re also buying into a neighborhood. Therefore, you should know a thing or two about where you are moving. Luckily, Google has made that pretty easy.
Look up the address. Go down the rabbit hole. Check out the crime rate in the area. Read police blotters. See how often your potential street makes it into the news. You might find some red flags that this isn’t the house for you. However, a clean record can ease a lot of concerns!
How is Your Work Commute?
You have to pay the mortgage somehow. So, how is the work commute from the potential new home? You may fall out of love with your dream house if it takes hours getting to and from the job.
Before you put in an offer, take a ride to the office. Is it too long for you to bear? Maybe the house is close to a train station or bus stop? Figuring out how to get to and from your workplace most efficiently and cost-effectively can go a long way in swaying your decision to buy a home.
Figure Out the Utilities
Sure, you can afford the mortgage. However, can you cover the cost of keeping the lights on, the internet going, and Netflix streaming?
Utilities are different prices throughout the United States. Therefore, what you paid in your old neighborhood might not be what you’re forking out in your new one. Before putting in an offer, make sure you can afford to live in the neighborhood you are looking to move into.
Assess What Needs Fixing
Ever buy a used car and realize you bought someone else’s problems? Don’t fall into that trap when you are buying a house. This is an issue that will last far longer than the lifespan of a vehicle.
Have the house inspected. Let contractors give you estimates on what needs updating. Prioritize what is essential and what is cosmetic. From there, figure out how much you need to invest in fixing the place up. If you need a lot more work done than you initially anticipated, this might not be the right house for you.
What’s It Like at All Times?
When we start the home buying process, it tends to be during day time hours. This is when the neighborhood is at it’s best behavior. Drive by the house numerous times at various moments of the day.
See what the activity is like after hours. Scope out the scenery early morning. Are there noisy neighbors that will keep you up all night as they party? Perhaps, there are other neighbors that will be up at the crack of dawn mowing their lawn? Remember, you’re not just buying a house, you’re investing in a neighborhood. Figure out the lay of the land before you put in the offer.
Are There Certain Insurance or Taxes?
Make sure that you are aware of the tax bracket of the neighborhood. These are fees that many don’t anticipate and can be a costly oversight for new homebuyers.
Also, be aware of the zoning of the house. For instance, some neighborhoods require additional coverage such as flood insurance. You should know these requirements beforehand and figure them into your budget before making an offer.
Can You Imagine the Rest of Your Life Here?
This last tip may be the most important. The purpose of a house is to be the backdrop for a lifetime of happy memories. Is this the place?
Before making an offer, walk in the house. Take a look around. Close your eyes. Can you imagine Christmas morning or Sunday dinner in this house? If so, then it’s set. You found your forever home!