Did you know that more than seven million homes are bought and sold each year in the US? That’s a lot of people moving on a regular basis.
And even though the market is red hot right now in 2022, buyers are plentiful. People are desperate to move and desperate to buy a house right now.
Purchasing a house, however, has never been more difficult. In an age where mortgage solutions are plentiful, inventory is extremely limited, and prices are extremely high.
So what do you need to know before purchasing a home, to ensure you go about it the right way? Keep reading below to understand the buying process and learn some tips for buying a house confidently.
1. Know Your Reason for Moving
In this market, it’s easy to get frustrated as a home buyer. Houses move so fast, and it can be tempting to put offers on any and every home that pops up.
While in certain circumstances, this may be necessary, it’s important to know exactly why you are moving.
Are you moving to a new state, because you are now retired or because you can work remotely? Are you looking for warmer weather, and a nice backyard so you can actually enjoy that weather each day?
Do you need a house that offers home office space to manage your remote job? Do you want to be close to good schools for your children?
Or do you simply need a bigger house with all those kiddos running around?
By knowing your reason for moving, you’ll remind yourself what’s really important, and you won’t make the mistake of buying a house that doesn’t meet your needs.
2. List Your Non-Negotiables
Speaking of meeting your needs, make a list of non-negotiables. You should have at least a few items on your list, and if a house doesn’t have those things, it’s an automatic no.
For example, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is usually non-negotiable. You need a certain number of rooms for each family member.
For many people, a garage is non-negotiable. You need that extra space either for storage or to park your car indoors, away from the elements.
For some people, a swimming pool is non-negotiable. Some people really want a pool, and others really don’t want one, as they require upkeep.
Finding homes with pools for sale can be an opportunity, since there may be less competition for those houses.
3. Remodeled or Fixer-Upper?
Newly remodeled homes, and those with updated kitchens and bathrooms, are the fastest to fly off the shelf. If you want to get a home for sale where all of the hard work is done, you can expect a bidding war.
You may need to pay more than a house is worth to enjoy the luxury of a move-in-ready house.
The best deals, for those willing to put in the work, are the outdated homes. You’ll have less competition in these homes. And you’ll be able to get in at a decent price.
So rather than overpaying for the house, you can use any money saved by remodeling the house to your taste and boosting your equity in the process.
4. Watch Out for Commuting Times
We all have places we need to drive to on a daily or weekly basis. Work, school, and even the gym locations will determine how much driving we have to do.
Home prices aren’t the only thing on the rise, as gas prices are up considerably this year. Don’t forget to factor in commuting distances and times when choosing a house and a neighborhood.
Having a house close to the places you need to access can dramatically improve your quality of life. Sure, you might need to settle for a smaller house.
But you’ll have many additional hours on a weekly basis to actually enjoy that house, as you won’t have to sit in the car all day.
5. Think About Noise Levels
Everyone wants a house on a quiet cul-de-sac, where they can sit out back and enjoy the sounds of nature in the evening. But getting that is easier said than done, especially if you want to live close to amenities, jobs, and schools.
More and more neighborhoods are built near highways, busy roads, train tracks, and sports fields. That means tons of noise throughout the day.
If spending time out in the yard is important to you, try choosing a new home away from these noisy locations.
6. Desired Length of Time
When buying a home, most people overlook how long they plan to stay in the home. But it can have a huge impact on what you buy.
If you’re only planning to stay in a home for a few years, you don’t need to be as picky. You can choose an ideal location, and put up with a lower quality home for example.
But if you’re buying a forever home, or don’t plan to move for a while, it pays to be patient. Wait for the right home, and don’t settle for something that’s going to make you miserable for years on end.
Of course, one of your biggest considerations is your finances. Do you have enough for a down payment? Are you willing to put 20% down to bypass private mortgage insurance?
Or will you try putting less than 10% down? While these mortgage programs are great for new buyers, they make buying a home harder. If a seller has multiple offers on a house, they often choose the strongest buyer, which is usually the one putting 20% down as opposed to 3.5% down.
Consider your debt to income ratio. Are there monthly payments you can get rid of before buying a home? That will free up cash flow, make it easier to make mortgage payments, and help you qualify for a higher loan.
Purchasing a House the Right Way
Purchasing a house is a big task, especially in a highly competitive market like the one we’re experiencing in 2022. Make sure to take your time as you plan your home purchase and follow the tips above to ensure you make the right purchase.
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