Making the decision to buy your first home in Idaho is a big one. Buying a house will likely be the biggest purchase of your life, so it makes sense to hesitate a little. Buying a house is more than just finding the home you want, getting a mortgage, and making the payments. How do you know if you are going to be ready to buy your first house? Take a minute to read these tips and must-dos for first-time homebuyers. This way, you’ll know without a doubt that you are ready to take the plunge into homeownership.
#1: Get a Feel for the Market
Take a look at what’s available, and get a feel for how much homes are selling for. You don’t want to start looking at any houses yet. However, you can get a good idea about what is on the market, and good idea on homes in certain price ranges.
#2: Use a Mortgage Calculator
That’s right, you aren’t looking at houses yet. When you are first looking at buying a home, you need to first see if it’s even a possibility. A really good way to do this is by using an online mortgage calculator. These tools give you a solid idea of how much your mortgage payments would be each month, and will give you a solid idea of how much house you can afford.
#3: Calculate Your Total Monthly Housing Costs
If you thought the mortgage was going to be your only monthly home expense, you would be mistaken. The number from the mortgage calculator is only a ballpark. Typically, they will only tell you what your loan payment would be and not your total monthly expenses. Owning a home includes paying taxes, homeowners insurance, and sometimes private mortgage insurance (known as PMI) and homeowners association fees (known as HOAs). Sometimes, you’ll find that your extra expenses will effectively double your mortgage payment.
In order to get a good idea about how much homeowners insurance will cost, call a local agent and get a quote. For property taxes, check in with your local property appraisers.
#4: Figure Out Closing Costs
Buying a house isn’t just getting approved for a mortgage and paying your monthly payments. You will likely have closing costs, including a down payment. You’ll also have to pay origination fees on your loan, title and settlement fees, and any taxes and prepaid items, like homeowners insurance. Sometimes, the seller will pay all or some of your closing costs, but don’t count on it.
#5: Know Your Budget
You are going to want to know how buying a house is going to affect your monthly budget and monthly living. The general rule of thumb is to not spend more than 30 percent of your income on housing. More than that, and you risk becoming house poor and stretching your budget too far and too thin.
#6: Use a Local, Trusted Real Estate Agent
Your best weapon in buying your first house is a trusted and local real estate agent. Not only will they help you find your dream home in Idaho when you are ready, but they understand the market. They know where the market is trending, and what house prices will be doing. Not only that, but they work for you. Your Idaho real estate agent will make sure that you find the best house for the best price.
#7: Look at the Big Picture
Buying a house isn’t just buying a place to live, and it isn’t just an investment either. While it’s true that buying a house is a great investment, you need to look at the big picture. Look a few years down the road. Are you going to need to replace your roof soon? That’s going to cost you a lot of money. Plus, if you are going to be living in your house for less than five years, owning a house is not going to be a solid investment.
Are You Ready for Your First Home?
Deciding to buy a house is a big decision, but making the step to actually buying a house is an even bigger step. You want to make sure that you are ready for this kind of investment and commitment. Take your time, do your research, and plan. Plan a lot.
Before you can decide to buy a house, you need to make sure that you can afford to buy a house. And if you are making the decision to buy a house just because you can afford to, you might need to rethink your decision. Buy your house because you want one, and because you’ll be living in your home for at least five years. Once you are ready, get prequalified for a loan, and talk to your Idaho real estate agent.