A first time home buyer looks forward to the opportunity to move from renting to home ownership. This can be a daunting task filled with questions, concerns, and fear of regret. But there’s hope! We turn to the wisdom of those who have gone before us, who have already walked this road we will now travel. We ask friends, relatives, and even binge watch HGTV to find out whatever we can that will help us make the right decision. In an effort to help, we have collected a few nuggets of wisdom to share with you from our clients and our experience.
1. Know What You Can Afford
It is important, in any purchase, to know what your budget is. If you’re not much of a budget minded person already, head over and get some tips from Dave Ramsey on the subject. For a home purchase, your best bet is to get prequalified by a lender for a certain purchase amount, with an estimated monthly payment, so that you can shop with confidence. Many home buyers go find the house they really like, not knowing if they can afford it, or if they even have the credit to get the payment they are hoping for. If you do not already have a lender, ask your real estate agent who they recommend. Our team works can help you if you are in the Ocala area.
2. Your Relatives Aren’t Real Estate Professionals
Okay, so technically they might be… but this statement is true for most of you. Buying a house will probably include a title company, a home inspector, possibly a surveyor, a pest control company, a mortgage lender, and hopefully a quality real estate agent. Be careful when taking advice. When I was little and a mean kid in the neighborhood said something putting me down, my grandmother always said “Consider the source”. This wisdom is applicable whether you’re dismissing someone’s opinion or simply understanding it in the context of one person’s experience. It’s best to get the most valued advice from a professional who has handled hundreds if not thousands of situations similar to yours.
3. Millionaires Buy Extra Things They Don’t Use
And if you can afford it, but don’t need it, feel free to pay for the pool, shed, extra acres, barn, fireplace, stainless steel appliances, top-of-the-line_______, etc. Just make sure that the items that sparkle when you first look at a house will sparkle 6 months down the road. Certain items can have monthly maintenance costs, impact home owners insurance premiums, and can have higher repair costs as they wear down over time. Pools and fireplaces can be great, if that’s what you need. Just make a decision about these kinds of items before you shop, so that you don’t get overly excited and buy something you really don’t need, or possibly even don’t want a few months down the road.
4. Buy For The Future
Think through what your life will look like in a few years. What kind of home will you want then? If you have a 3-5 year plan that will have you receiving a promotion and wanting to move again, then buy for the short term. Otherwise, think through the purposes of each room in 5 years, and then in 10 years. Will you enjoy the same part of town at that point. What about school zoning and ease of access to certain stores, or close proximity to major highways if you like to travel? About the time that you think you are asking too many questions about your potential home, you are probably exactly on track. If you dream on purpose, you will enjoy it so much more as the dream is realized.
5. Make A Decision And Feel Good About It
This piece of advice can serve you well throughout your life. Because buying a home is such a complex process, there are literally hundreds of opportunities for you to second guess yourself. Taking one step at a time will help, but you must also be willing to step forward, passed each opportunity of decision and move on, toward having the keys to your very own home. Most decisions, even the smallest ones, will not have an absolutely clear “Yes” or “No”. Choose between Good, Better, and Best. This will make some of your decisions much easier. Sometimes you have to settle for “Good” in one area of the home to get “Best” in another, that might be more important to you and your family’s needs. Also pay attention to those things that you can easily improve, or can improve inexpensively. Decide, and feel good that you did.
The decisions are yours. The journey is yours. Use professional advice as much as you can, but know that your home purchase is about YOU.