Purchasing a home is a big undertaking and should not be entered into lightly. However, with the proper forethought, homeownership is a great place to be, especially if you plan on living in the home for at least five years or so. What are some of the main things you should know before buying a house?
#1. Find out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a home.
I realize that most people search online for homes before analyzing things from a financial perspective. It’s a given: nearly 90% of homebuyers take the first step by searching online and end up finding a home online … even though the first step really should be understanding their finances. But I get it. The draw to search for homes and browse through listings is just too exciting! Once you’ve browsed a few listings, sit down with a lender to find out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a monthly mortgage payment. I would highly recommend doing this before looking at homes in person; you may find the perfect home, only to find out later you can’t afford it, or miss out on a hot property because your financing isn’t in order.
A lender will sit down with you and discuss all of your finances, income, assets, liabilities, and debts to determine how much you can afford on a monthly mortgage payment. This will determine the price range in which to look.
A good rule of thumb is to try not maxing out your budget. If you can afford $300,000, try to keep your budget under $290,000. Having a little extra wiggle room in your monthly mortgage payment will give you some peace of mind in case you need to update the house or factor in repairs later on.
#2. What type of house and neighborhood are you interested in?
There are lots of different types of homes and housing options throughout Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley. Are you looking to be in a neighborhood that’s in a particular school zone? Do you want to be close to grocery stores and restaurants? What about commute times? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? How many square feet do you want? Are you looking for a view property or some acreage? Make notes and give your real estate agent a checklist of necessities, preferences, and deal breakers.
#3. Find the right agent.
Some buyers will go from listing agent to listing agent without developing a working relationship with any one agent. While this may or may not work out well in the end, the entire experience will go much more smoothly when you have a knowledgeable agent you enjoy working with, who is there to help you accomplish your unique goals, not just focus on that one house they have listed. Your agent will get to know your needs, let you know of upcoming homes, coordinate showings, and dig up information on any of the homes you are interested in. Buyer’s agent services are free in the majority of cases since the seller typically pays the commission at closing!
These three points are probably the most important to keep in mind when it comes to buying a home. Feel free to get started with us anytime!