The Top 10 Questions To Ask Before Buying Your First Home
Buying your first home is a big decision, but the process doesn’t need to be a daunting one. Taking the time to ask yourself these ten key questions and doing your research prior to your home purchase can assist in taking stress out of the buying process.
- What expectations do I have in my first home?
It helps you create your wish list for home attributes that you’d like to have and then decide which are must-haves and which aren’t. This will give you a baseline to look for when you visit open houses and make appointments to view properties with your real estate agent.
- Can I handle the pressure of buying my first home?
Yes, you can! If at all possible, keep your emotions in check as you begin the home shopping and buying process. Too often buyers allow their emotions to “get in the way” and this can lead to costly mistakes and poor decision making that you’ll later come to regret.
- How much can I comfortably afford to spend on my first home?
Evaluate what you spend on various items in your budget each month and determine what you can realistically afford to take on in a mortgage payment. Common estimates indicate that your mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of your monthly expenses.
- How important is my credit score to this purchase process?
It’s very important to the process. The higher your credit score and the cleaner your credit history, the better the chance you have of securing a lower interest rate when you secure your mortgage. You can check your credit score by requesting a free copy from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – once a year.
- Should I be pre-approved prior to starting to shop for a home?
Yes, yes and again, yes. Knowing what amount you’re approved by your banking institution to spend on your home will help you realistically navigate the house shopping process.
- What are all of the expenses (hidden and obvious) of owning a home?
Home ownership isn’t just a mortgage payment. It’s also homeowners insurance, real estate taxes, home maintenance, emergency repairs, and in some cases homeowner associations fees and more. Ask your realtor, and of course the current home owner/builder, for insights into the various costs of owning the home you’re thinking of buying.
- What are the conditions of the local market in which I’d like to buy a home?
Monitor the market conditions in the area(s) you’re considering buying a house. By knowing the comparable selling and buying prices of those localities, you’ll be better informed on whether or not a home you’re considering is fairly priced, along with guidance on how to negotiate the purchase price. Checking www.realtor.com or similar sites, along with conversations with your realtor are great resources for determining local market conditions.
- What are my rights when it comes to buying a home?
As a first-time buyer, you have a right to the following: to shop for the best loan for your needs, to know the total cost of your home purchase, to ask for a Good Faith Estimate, to know which fees are not refundable if you cancel your loan, to ask questions about loan charges/fees and terms, to know why you may have been denied for a loan and a right to discuss the credit decision with your bank.
- If I find a home I’d like to buy, do I need a home inspection?
YES! Home inspectors are professionally trained to evaluate innumerable aspects of the conditions of a house that may not be obvious to a first-time buyer and/or your real estate agent. Knowledge is power when it comes to the condition of the home you’re seeking to purchase. The inspection may provide you with the information you need to decide to buy or to keep looking.
- When should I walk away from the home buying process?
When to walk away will vary from buyer to buyer. However, generally speaking if you’re finding it impossible to locate a home that you’d like to live in, can afford to live in or has too many problems (i.e., a “money pit”) it may be time to take a break. It never hurts to give it a rest for a few weeks or months, if your schedule permits, and try again later.
If after reading this info you still have questions about how to proceed – get in touch with one of our Mortgage Experts who’d be happy to help! Or, if you’re feeling confident and want to move forward with taking the initial steps to owning a home you can fill out our application form.