While for some, management-provided maintenance, a pretty pool, an onsite gym, and not having to keep up your own grounds are great benefits to the easy life of renting, for those of us who are sick of throwing thousands of dollars a year down someone else’s toilet, it’s time to buy a house! Here are a few tips for helping you invest in yourself, and your future, with home ownership.
1) Do the Math
You know what you pay in rent, and you’ve used a mortgage calculator to know what you can afford. Don’t forget to add in the various homeowner’s insurances, property taxes, and associated fees! Making a miscalculation here will end up costing you dearly.
2) Are you Qualified?
Don’t hop on the internet and start looking for homes before you know just how much you’ll be able to qualify for; you’re just getting your hopes up.
3) Check the Area
Great home at a great price? Check the crime rates, local schools, and other property values in the area; if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
4) Get a Not-So-Secret Agent
Whether it’s through your bank or on your own, selecting an agent from an established company will give you the peace of mind that they know what they’re doing.
5) Easy there, Tiger!
Unless you’re already well-off, you won’t be getting everything you want in your first home. It’s like your first car, in that respect. Location, looks, amenities, flooring, commutes; select two things important for each of you, and try to find something incorporating those. When you shoot for the moon, you won’t hit it.
6) Double Down?
Save up as much as you can; there are a lot of expenses, such as closing costs, to consider. A bigger down payment means a smaller loan, and a smaller monthly payment.
7) Double Down?
Didn’t we just say that? Yes, but consider a duplex. You may want your first home to be special, and privacy is a big part of that, but picking up an affordable duplex let’s some other sucker pay off most of your mortgage. Sit back and relax, or double your mortgage payment with your own contributions, letting you get your new property paid off twice as fast.
8) Where Others have Failed
Like the idea of a cheaper first home, but don’t want to share your space with a renter? Consider a foreclosed home. Just because somebody else didn’t plan properly and wasn’t able to pay off their purchase doesn’t mean you’ll be following suit.
9) Sign it Soon
Close the deal quickly to qualify for an $8,000 first-time-buyer tax credit. Too late? Other programs for first-timers are there to help.
10) Improving your Situation
Smoke alarms, although a given for most, can cut your insurance premiums just like a standard security system can. Move in, suit up, and save significant money over the course of a year.