This is a guest post. Alycia Coloma is a mother to four beautiful girls and loves to craft DIY projects in her spare time. She enjoys finding new ways to work with tight budgets and spreading her knowledge to parents everywhere. Alycia is a staunch advocate of continuing education and believes that an insatiable hunger for knowledge is the key to better finances, a warm family, and a fulfilling life as a whole. She’s also a kitchen connoisseur on the side, and has been known to whip up some mean empanadas.
Buying your first home is a big step. After years of either paying rent or living at home, you are finally ready to buy your own place. But once you have finally decided you are ready to take that step, you have to take into consideration a lot of different factors before actually moving. How much can you realistically afford? What kind of house are you looking for? Are you willing to spend money on renovations? Buying a home is not an easy process, but it is definitely worth it in the end. Here are 5 steps to take when you’re ready to buy a home:
Figure out your finances
Before you actually start looking for homes, you need to set a budget. And you can’t do that without figuring out your finances. Most people need a loan to buy their first home, which entails a whole application process. There are many different types of loans, so it is important to do your research to determine what works for you. If you or your family is a military member or veteran, another option is using a VA entitlement guide to determine if your loan can be partially covered by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Do your research to see if you qualify for a VA loan to help you purchase your first home.
Think about what type of house suits you
There are many different types of houses: a townhouse, a single-family home, a condo, a duplex, the list goes on. Before you actually start looking for homes, figure out what type of house best suits you. The type of house depends on whether you are moving by yourself or with someone else. You need to think about space and amenities, and also if the house needs serious renovating or not.
Think about how much you can actually afford
Besides just getting a loan, there are a lot of other factors to consider before buying a home. Buying a home is not a one stop job. In addition to paying your monthly mortgage, you will also need money for amenities, groceries, renovations, etc. Make sure you plan for all of that and the cost of the actual house. Do not buy a house without having significant savings, either. You will need to pay upfront for the down payment and closing costs, but you should also have an emergency fund with at least three months of your living expenses already accounted for. Once you figure all this out, then you can actually look for a house.
Get a real estate agent
A good real estate agent will make your house hunting process a whole lot easier. Specifically tell your agent what your budget is and what you are looking for in terms of size and amenities. The agent will then do all the work of looking for a home within those requirements and you just have to go and see the houses for yourself. Once you decide on a place, your agent will submit an offer and negotiate if necessary. If you’re struggling with how to find an agent, there are plenty of websites you can use to find good real estate agents in your area.
Have the home inspected
Once you finally find your dream place, you’re going to be tempted just to close and move in right on the spot. Don’t do that. You need to have the home inspected first. A home inspector will look at the house to see if there are any underlying issues, before you actually buy the house. You need a trained professional to do this inspection. If they find something wrong with the house that needs fixing, you can negotiate the price down more to afford the repairs.
Once you figure out all of this, then you can finally close on your dream house. This process takes research, time, and dedication, but when you finally walk through those doors of your perfect home, it will all be worth it.