Questions to Answer Before Buying a Home

 In Advice for Home Buyers, First Time Home Buyer

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Before you buy, ask yourself these five questions — and pay attention to the answers.

Can I even afford this?

Obviously this seems like the first question you should ask, and not only that, it’s the most important. Without a cushion in your budget, buying a home can add a certain layer of stress to your finances. As a renter, you’re likely less responsible for major repairs, insurance spikes, or sometimes even things like lawn maintenance. Once you’ve purchased, those responsibilities fall on you as a homeowner. Before you buy, make sure there’s enough of a buffer to cover the unexpected.

Is this my forever home?

As the cost of living goes up, it no longer makes sense to buy a home if you’re only planning to stay for a year or two. Between the costs of securing a mortgage loan, closing on the sale, and paying Realtor fees, it makes the most sense to own for at least 5 years to recoup those costs and benefit from any growth in the market.

What is the after-tax cost of owning?

You know that enticing little number on real estate listing websites that estimates your mortgage payments? Keep in mind that they are rough estimates and don’t factor in things like down payments, loan rates, or property insurance. Click through to thorough mortgage calculators that take all of those numbers into account before you get your hopes up!

Are there any hidden expenses?

As with any big purchase, you often have things to maintain in order to keep them in perfect working order. Your car needs regular oil changes, new tires, and maintenance at certain mileage milestones. Your house does, too. If you’re not prepared for the regular maintenance of new roofs, updated windows, septic tank pumps, or exterior paint, you may consider waiting to buy.

Where’s the market headed?

It’s worth researching your current housing market and looking into future projections. Thankfully, the Charlotte-metro area is routinely listed as one of the fastest growing cities with a strong housing market. If you’re lucky enough to nab a home before it’s snapped up, and you’re definitely planning on staying that ideal 5-year timeline, take comfort in the fact that your investment likely will appreciate. Oftentimes, it’s that reason alone that pushes people to buy.  

Thanks to Time Magazine’s Money division for the questions! See their full post here.

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