“Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.”
As a Realtor, I deal with all kinds of people from all walks of life. Some are nearing retirement while others are purchasing their first home and starting a family.
But they all have one thing in common. They want to purchase a home and be happy with their decision. In fact, it is my job to help people find a home they love that supports their lifestyle.
In keeping with that responsibility, I would like to reflect on some of the things I wish I knew before buying a home.
Make Your Budget and Stick To It
When I started shopping for my first home, I already had experience in real estate. So I dove right in and started the process by getting pre-approved. I knew this would help my bargaining power once I found the home I loved.
To my surprise, the bank approved me for an amount much larger than I had originally budgeted for. I admit it was tempting to increase my budget and shoot for the stars. But thankfully I had already made a home buying budget and accounted for everything in my lifestyle. I knew what I could afford.
While I already knew I needed to stick to my budget, some homebuyers are tempted into accepting loans they can’t afford. The advice here is to know your budget, stick to it, and don’t let your lender or agent convince you otherwise. You may be approved for a higher mortgage, but your personal budget determines what you can pay, not your lender.
Set Aside Money for More Than Closing Costs and Down Payment
The process of closing on a home is expensive. Most buyers know they need to prepare for a down payment and closing costs, but I also recommend preparing to pay the smaller fees that tend to add up.
You may need a few hundred dollars for inspections and a few hundred more for application fees. Suddenly the money you set aside for down payment and closing is dwindling away.
That is why I like to tell my clients to budget for appraisal fees, loan application fees, loan broker fees, and more. It all adds up, and it doesn’t end with the purchase.
After the purchase, you will be responsible for property taxes, HOA fees, insurance, and moving expenses. This is all before you even think about repainting the new living room.
So, before you buy, make sure you budget and then budget some more for all of these smaller items that add up to quite a bit of money.
Prepare To Maintain Your Home
If this is your first home purchase and you are accustomed to renting, you will definitely want to pay attention here. You should expect to pay 2% to 3% of your home’s value every year in maintenance and repairs.
Now, I know you had a home inspection done, and there were no major issues with your new house, but every house needs maintenance. It’s just part of home ownership.
Be ready to call the plumber, not the landlord. Aside from sudden repairs, don’t forget about things like mowing the lawn and maintaining your trees and garden.
When you buy a home, you’re the owner. So prepare to play the part. Spend some time and money maintaining and repairing your investment. It’s worth it!
Be Skeptical of Advice from Friends and Family
Anyone that has purchased a home has a story. Sometimes the story is heartwarming, sometimes the story is a sad precautionary tale. No home purchase is ever the same.
But it is important that you avoid cronyism: the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority without proper regard to their qualifications. This means being skeptical of the advice and recommendations of friends and family members.
You don’t have to shoot down the advice of others. Just be mindful that advice that applied to your friend’s situation may not apply to yours.
Also, sometimes people make recommendations to make themselves look good rather than to help you, though this is not always the case. Just make sure anyone you decide to work with is evaluated by you for their effectiveness in handling your situation.
In sharing these 4 things I wish I knew before buying a home, I hope I’ve provided a bit of insight into what you can expect when you purchase a home. As a Realtor here in Sanpete County, I pride myself with being transparent with every client. If you have a question, ask it. I am here to help!
I would love to hear about anything you did not expect during your home purchase in the comments.