Moving is tough — there’s no arguing that. But transitioning from renting an apartment to being the owner of your very own home is a whole new challenge altogether. You’ll have a mortgage to pay, no landlord to fix your leaking sink, and an entire space to furnish.
It may sound overwhelming, but you’ll be less stressed if you’re prepared. Read below for the most important aspects to keep in mind when home buying.
1) Location Matters Most
Where you’ll be moving to and how it meets your living needs is the most important factor to consider. Sure, it may be nice picturing yourself in a secluded cabin high in the mountains of Montana, but don’t expect a booming job market or short commutes anywhere.
If you want to start a family, you’ll want to consider pleasant suburban or city areas, which are prime for raising a family. You’ll be in decent proximity to your job, friends, your children’s school, and any activities your new place has to offer. There are houses for sale in Syracuse, NY that hit these needs nicely, and you’ll find similar areas all across the United States.
If you’re not wanting to start a family, and prefer to live alone, then I guess that cabin in Montana wouldn’t be so bad!
2) Have A 20% Down Payment Ready
Not handing a 20% down payment over to your bank is a big mistake. Banks will immediately classify you as a risk. To cover their assets, they’ll tack on mortgage insurance on top of your monthly payments.
In standard cases, the insurance will add around 1% of your total payment a year. If you have a 3% interest rate, it now becomes 4%. This insurance only protects the lender and not you. So, to reiterate, have a 20% down payment ready to avoid higher costs.
3) Shop Around And Get Pre-Approved For Your Mortgage
It’ll take some time, but you’ll want to meet with various banks to discuss their mortgage options and go through their pre-approval process. Pre-approval gives you an exact amount the bank will be willing to lend you, so you’ll have a price point to reference when looking at homes.
Having that pricing knowledge will take a good bit of edge off your home shopping journey.
4) 15-Year Mortgage vs. 30-Year Mortgage? Choose 15-Year
You may think you’ll want to stay in your first home forever, but studies show this isn’t a likely reality. In fact, most people stay in a single home for around 13 years.
While the lower payments offered by a 30-Year mortgage may be tantalizing for a new homebuyer, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. If you believe you’re unable to afford a 15-year mortgage, you may risk not being able to afford the 30-year either.
Spreading out payments over a large amount of time still results in the same ending price. You’ll feel much more financially secure finding a home where you know you can pay the 15-year mortgage.
Happy House Hunting!
The transition from renting an apartment to becoming a homeowner is a daunting task for every first-timer. However, your hard work will be worth the effort.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of settling into your home for the first time. Just remember to be prepared, do your research, trust your gut, and ensure you’re comfortable enough to make this dream a reality. Go luck with your search!