Buying a house is one of the best investments you could ever make — if you choose the right one. As a first-time homebuyer, however, this task is easier said than done. How exactly do you find a property that your family loves that also improves your personal wealth? Take a look at these home buying tips:
Set a budget
Wanting to buy a home and being able to afford one are two completely different things. That’s why buyers should review their finances first, then decide on a realistic budget. If you’re not quite sure where to start, many experts say that your housing costs shouldn’t exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. This amount should account not just for your mortgage, but also recurring expenses like property taxes, homeowners insurance, association dues, and maintenance costs.
Define your dream house
Now that you’ve established a price range, the next step is to list down what you want in a home. Like most buyers, you likely have a clear idea of how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want. But you’ll also want to think about the features and amenities you want. For instance, avid home chefs might want a big and modern kitchen, while pet lovers will likely appreciate an expansive backyard. Likewise, decide if you want to buy an existing home or a new construction as both have pros and cons.
Know the neighborhood
It’s the house that people buy, but it’s the community that makes them stay. As such, pay close attention to the kind of neighborhood a property is located in. Are the streets safe and highly walkable? Does it have public amenities that your family will enjoy? Are the homes well-maintained and the neighbors pleasant? Is the atmosphere peaceful and positive? Is it close to shopping centers, transport depots, and work hubs? Ask all these questions and more when researching communities.
Hire a good real estate agent
No law mandates you to hire a real estate agent, but doing so is highly recommended. The listings you see online are but the tip of the iceberg, as real estate professionals have access to homes that aren’t publicly listed, thus giving you a broader selection to choose from. They also perform the crucial task of shortlisting properties that fit your budget and needs, saving you considerable time. Last but not the least, they have in-depth knowledge of all the neighborhoods in an area and can recommend one that best suits your family.
Rule #1 of house-hunting: never fall in love at first sight. Yes, the first home you viewed may tick all your boxes, but you can’t know for sure if it’s the best option unless you compare it with others. Generally speaking, view at least three to five properties before making a decision. Who knows, the other choices might just offer everything you want at a slightly lower asking price?
Buying homes for sale in Southern California is a major milestone, so be sure to work with Teri Pacitto, a top-producing agent of the prestigious Sotheby’s International Realty. To get started, simply call her at 805.494.4663 or send an email to teri(dotted)pacitto(at)sir(dotted)com.