Homeownership has many advantages. It gives you greater privacy, allows for predictable monthly costs, and can serve as a nest egg for the future (since property values tend to increase). If you’re new to the real estate market, let the below guidelines, brought to you by 30A Local Properties, prepare you for a successful property purchase.
Stay within your financial capabilities
Unless you have a significant amount of money saved, odds are you will have to take out a loan to afford a house of your own. To get a mortgage, you will still have to make a down payment. Per Forbes, the median down payment is 6 percent of the total home value, but if you can afford to pay more, you should. More money down will allow you to secure a more favourable loan with a lower interest rate. You can also reduce your interest rate by paying points on the loan (also known as “buying down the rate”). However, in some cases, that isn’t the best choice, which is why it’s important to use an online mortgage points calculator to give a better idea. Your type of loan and personal financial picture need to be weighed carefully.
When you find a house that interests you, reach out to a local agent to help you determine some critical numbers. Your agent can give you the home’s price per square foot, its purchase history, and how much similar homes in the area are selling for. Using this information, you can ensure that you won’t overspend on a property just because it takes your breath away.
Scope out properties in person
While it’s easy to fall in love with photos of a property, these images won’t give you the same feel for the house as an in-person visit will. Visit open houses to scope out the space in person. Take your time and go through every room, also making sure to check out less obvious areas like the garage and closets. While they may not be aesthetic highlights, these spaces are useful for storage and you want to see first-hand how big they are.
An open house offers another advantage: It gives you a chance to ask questions. Either the home’s owner or a realtor should be on site to guide you and address concerns. Write a list of queries in advance to make sure you don’t forget anything important. Ask about renovations that have been made to the home, the cost of utilities, and the proximity to amenities like supermarkets and schools. You can also find out about the neighborhood, such as what traffic is like and who the neighbours are.
If you are from out of town, talk to a local agent about a personal on site virtual tour.
Can’t find your dream house? Build it yourself
It takes patience to find your dream home. On average, Really Moving says the process takes around six months, but it can easily take longer if you have very specific requirements. In fact, if you have a very set idea of the perfect property in mind, you may be better off building your house instead of buying it. This approach allows you to take a hands-on approach and personally design every detail, like whether there should be a skylight in the bedroom or how big the kitchen needs to be. A real estate agent can help you find a piece of land that is ready for building.
Building a home can be costly—and getting a loan to finance a new build tends to be more complicated than getting a loan for an already built house. The average cost of building a new home is around $430,000.
Custom-built properties cost even more, ranging from $350,000 to $1.5 million or more. Many different factors affect the cost, such as the number of levels, size, design features, and shape, and you’ll also want input from more professional services. Since you can control these factors, though, you can also control the final cost.
Let the above tips inspire you as you pursue your goal of becoming a homeowner. Whether you decide to buy or build, you will eventually get the house you want. Be patient and don’t settle, since it’s a choice you’ll be living with every day.
Buy or sell? 30A Local Properties can help! Visit our website today or give us a call at (850) 213-3048 to learn more about how we can assist you.