Questions to Ask Before You Buy Your Next Home

Buying a new home is not something you do on a whim or the spur of the moment. It is something that takes meticulous planning and careful decision making.

Whether you are buying a first-time starter home, expanding your house with the size of your family, or downsizing in your later years, there are certain aspects you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.

Here are the big questions you need to ask before you buy your next home:

  • What is my total budget? Begin with a little soul-searching about just how much money you can spend each month on a mortgage. As a rule of thumb, calculate your average monthly income. A mortgage should never be more than 25% of that figure. If it is, then you are not going to be able to afford basic living expenses.
  • How much do I need to put down on the home? For many people, the problem isn’t being able to afford the monthly mortgage. Rather, it’s the difficulty of putting together the down payment all at once. Put down as much as you can afford.
  • What’s the neighborhood like? If you have your eyes on one particular house, you need to also look at the neighborhood. Talk with your local police department or check the local newspapers to see if it is a high crime area. You can also check with them to see if anyone in the neighborhood is a registered sex offender. If you’re a parent or hope to be soon, look at the quality of the schools to see if they can provide a good education to your children. Finally, look to see if the home is in a flood plain or is prone to any other potential disasters.
  • How long has the house been on the market? This answer can really impact how much you have to offer on the home. If the house is a brand-new listing and the price is right, you may find yourself in a bidding war as multiple buyers jump in. However, if the home has been listed for months (or even more than a year), you may want to ask yourself what is wrong with it that others are passing it by. If it still seems like a good home, then offer less than the asking price and see if the homeowner is desperate enough to bite.
  • What other costs are involved? Buying a home is never easy, so you need to be prepared for hidden costs. First, estimate how much you expect to pay at closing. Also, pay close attention to the appliances and HVAC system and determine if these will need any upgrades or outright replacements. Finally, find out how much the property taxes are each year so you can include that in your budget.

If you are buying a new home, it is imperative that you do your homework first and get all the details down before you make your purchase. This is a major commitment and not one you want to make without all the facts in front of you.



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