Owning a home is a huge step in any person’s life and an important one from a financial perspective. It’s a step we all want to take because it is the cornerstone of a stable and happy lifestyle. But it’s a big step and first time buyers have a few important things that they need to consider before choosing or buying a home. This article points to four focus areas for first-time homeowners and hopefully will help you to make the right purchase of what may well be your biggest asset.
1) Do the math
Before you even start to look for a home make sure you evaluate what you can reasonably afford. You biggest asset should never become your biggest headache and this can be avoided by ensuring that your mortgage repayment will fit comfortably within your budget. It’s a good idea to meet with a reputable mortgage broker; they will advise you what portion of your income you should allocate to your mortgage repayment and look at other monthly expenses you will incur, like insurance, electricity and services. The broker also will help you to look around for the best mortgage options and rates so you understand what your options are. You will be stretched at the beginning so make allowance for upfront and on-going maintenance and repair costs. During the buying process, you will need to pay a deposit, legal and realtors fees and possibly more. Also be sure to budget for inspections and appraisals. You need to make sure the home you are buying is sound, which leads us to our next focus…
2) Make a good investment
In real estate there is an old saying that never changes – “It’s all about location, location, location”. Picking the right neighborhood, a quieter street, proximity to shops, schools, transportation, and highways can have a significant effect on your time in the house and also on the value of the house when you decide to sell one day. So do the research about what creates household value and be prepared to compromise on some needs if there is a factor that may affect the long term value of the house.
Markets are volatile and so prices fluctuate year to year, but since you want to buy now it is likely you don’t want to wait. But if the market is hot and prices are high, consider waiting if you can. In regions like Boston the market is also pretty seasonal. Families and students move in the summer when they change schools, so the supply and demand will rise, in the winter there are less houses on the market and less people buying, but you will need to drive around and look at houses in snow shoes!
Don’t cut corners, this is a big deal for you and you want to make sure you are investing well. Check out the area, look for power-lines, noise sources, check with the town about wetlands and conservation lands nearby, and find out about waste disposal areas in the area….
3) Choose a great lifestyle
Choosing the area you are going to live in is also about choosing a great lifestyle. Where will you be working and what will your commute be like? Are there certain preferred schools you may want your kids to attend? What schools are in the area? Will you be close to shops and community services? Are there parks or other recreational facilities in the area?
Then set your absolute needs and don’t waiver. Will it be enough to have 3 bedrooms or do you often have guests. Are you possibly planning for a new member of the family in the near future? Do you need a spacious home or are you better off with a small, easy to maintain love nest for two? A garage is great in the north east because of the snow, and how long of a driveway can you shovel?
Fortunately, there are realtors that are experienced and more than willing to guide you through all these considerations… which brings us to the fourth and final focus area….
4) Seek expert advice
It is essential to partner with a good Real Estate Broker to get advice on all the choices you need to make from finances to picking the right property. Once you have established your budget, type of home and preferred area, an expert can point you to exactly the right homes to look at, instead of you going through an endless search of what is not suitable. So if you are looking for help buying your first home or if you are relocating to Boston and buying in the USA for the first time, Osnat-Levy can ensure that you have covered the ‘Four Focus areas for First Time Homeowners’. If you are looking for a house in Newton, Brookline, Framingham, Needham, Cambridge, Somerville, Lexington or the area, contact Osnat Levy today for expert advice!
Happy house hunting!