Congratulations – you’re looking to purchase your first home! Home ownership is an amazing feat, but before you sign on the dotted line, there are several things you should keep in mind to ensure you and your new home are a perfect match.
Our team of experts at Stanley Martin Homes compiled a list of the top five things you should consider before buying your first home.
1. Find a location that fits your lifestyle. If it feels obvious, it should! However, it is imperative that you think through this step as much as possible. You may love living within city limits now, but if your five-year plan includes expanding your family or retiring, the hustle and bustle could become less appealing. In 2021, the housing boom is predicted to increase even more, so you’ll have your share of home options to choose from.
2. Plan out how much space you and your family will actually need. Now that you’ve nailed down a location for your home, the next step is planning out what style of home will best suit your needs. If you’re looking for front and backyards and larger living spaces, research single-family homes that include flex spaces. For families looking for a smaller option and without the exterior and additional maintenance of a house, narrow your list to condominiums. This option offers a variety of sizes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms and most include access to additional amenities like a gym. Townhomes are also a great option. They are found in both suburban and urban areas, and have similar flex spaces like a single-family home but with the decreased outdoor maintenance of a condominium.
3. Keep your mortgage in mind! We know – the “m” word… Mortgages are not a fun topic to discuss but are such a massive step within the homebuying process. Before you start searching and visiting homes, our team suggests figuring out what mortgage costs you can afford. Start out by getting prequalified – this is a fancy term that just means getting an evaluation of how much home you can afford and whether you meet the minimum requirements for a loan. You can then use a mortgage calculator to help predict how much you’d prefer to spend on a home. Our partner First Heritage Mortgage can help you calculate all those expenses and assist you in applying for a home or construction loan.
4. Understand all the costs associated with a new home. Outside of a mortgage, there are two “buckets” of additional costs to keep in mind: costs of purchasing a home and costs of owning a home. The former includes your mortgage and other fees like closing costs, a down payment, homeowner’s association fees and more. These are all fees that can, for the most part, be predicted in advance and you can factor within your purchasing decisions. The latter, on the other hand, is a bit tougher to fully flesh out. Costs of owning a home can drastically range based upon where you’re living (weather takes a toll on a home!), who is in your home and more. Things like upkeep, utility costs and more are all necessary evils within homeownership that don’t have to be evil – just make sure to plan ahead.
5. Use support systems and resources to help. There’s a lot to think through before buying your first home but you don’t need to go through the process on your own. There are tons of online and in-person resources to take advantage of to ensure you make the right decision. Our mortgage calculator and “ABCs of home buying” can help you walk through some of the steps above. If you’re someone who prefers one-on-one assistance, reach out to a new home consultant. These team members are here specifically to make sure your home fits your needs!
We hope these resources help you make the right decision for your new home. Happy home hunting!