It is common nowadays for people in their late 20s and early 30s to buy their first property. Whether it’s a studio apartment, a one-bedroom condominium, or a 2 bedroom house, many young professionals today responsibly choose to invest in a house more than anything else. If you are reading this and want to start looking for your dream house, take note of these 3 basic tips to help you find your first home.
Be Financially Ready
Before you begin house hunting, take a close look first at your finances since it will be the foundation of this whole journey. You need to have enough money to cover the purchase and ongoing expenses your new house will require. When calculating, you need to include the cost of necessities such as gas, electricity, water, and heating.
In most cases, you will need a good credit score to qualify for a home loan. Banks are the most common source of finance many aspiring homeowners go to, but you can also consider enlisting the help of a home loan broker. In hindsight, mortgage brokers are licensed professionals who act as middlemen between the buyer and the lender. Their job is to collect all necessary documents, pull and prepare your credit history, verify your total income and help you get approved.
Also, most houses in the market require a minimum down payment. Generally speaking, a down payment is cash that a borrower should provide to qualify for a mortgage loan. The exact value differs depending on the loan program, but normally, the amount you need to cash out is equivalent to 20% of the total purchase price.
Choose the Right Location
Choosing the right neighborhood is half of the whole process. You wouldn’t want to pay for a house where you are not comfortable with the location so take as much time as you need in this part of the process.
There are many types of houses in the market, and the options can be overwhelming. Most properties in the city center near schools, business districts, supermarkets, restaurants, and malls are comparatively higher in price than those situated at the outskirts of the metro. Other things you need to consider are:
- Your lifestyle
- Access to public transportation
- Do you have a pet, or are you planning to get one?
- Crime rate and safety
- Nearby amenities
Take a Good Look at the House
The first walk-through is where most first-time home buyers base their decisions. The exterior of the house, number of baths and bedrooms, and size of the living room and kitchen are the most common factors in a buyer’s checklist. But knowing whether the house is worth its price takes more than just a strong gut feeling. It takes knowledge and close inspection to determine the exact condition of the property.
Before making an offer, make sure that you are not just basing your decision on the facade. There are many professionals like inspectors and architects that provide home inspection services. Either you’re going to hire an inspector or plans to do it on your own, below are some of the most important factors that you need to pay close attention to:
- Roof – Do you know that nearly 30% of home insurance claims come from roofing issues? That’s why it’s important to ask the real estate agent if the roof is old or recently installed. Ensure that the roof’s quality is up to code and if the previous owners’ warranty is transferable to you.
- Cracks on the Wall – Small cracks on the drywall only require an easy fix, but large, deep cracks with discoloration may mean poor foundation or leaks.
- Windows and Doors – These two things can mean your safety. Test the windows and doors if they are opening and locking properly. Are they made of cheap material? Do you need to add more locks or completely change the knobs?
- HVAC – a typical home inspection covers the checking of the house’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC). The inspector should be able to tell you whether it’s old, if it’s functioning properly or if it needs repair. Generally speaking, a condenser should last about 12 to 15 years before needing a replacement.
- Water System – Check the faucets all over the house and make sure the pressure is just right and there are no leaks. This also includes looking at the basement and the house’s drainage system.
- Electrical System – a malfunctioning electrical system can be a serious health hazard. You should hire a certified electrician to make sure that all sockets are working and the house is wired properly and up to code.
House hunting is an experience that is both overwhelming and fulfilling. In this case, knowledge is key, and having proper information takes you one step closer to your dream home.