In this age of decreasing house ownership, it is a rare achievement to be able to afford your very own home. Go ahead and take a moment to congratulate yourself. But there are still things you should consider before you put that payment down.
1. Make absolutely sure that you can afford the house.
You may have saved up the money to afford the down payment, but that does not that mean that the you can handle the monthly bills that come with taking a loan out to buy the property. Make sure you have a cushion after deducting all your monthly expenses, in case of an emergency. Owning a home also means paying additional expenses, such as – insurance, taxes and all your own maintenance costs. Shop around for good terms on your loan agreement, meet several bank loan officers to determine what the best option to finance the purchase is. After all, it is probably the most you have spent in your life.
2. Allow the “one little thing” to get to you.
People assume that the one little thing that bothers you about the house – too many French doors or the space left for the fridge – will eventually just be something you get used to. It may start off as a little nagging doubt, but can soon turn into a big issue that will make you want to sell and move on. Make sure that there is nothing objectionable about the house. Revisit houses you are considering more than once before you make your offer. You may find that thing that mildly annoyed you the first time, now infuriates you and is a deal breaker.
3. Check out the neighbourhood.
This is especially important if you have young children. Make sure there is no criminal activity in the neighbourhood. Check out the council laws or development laws, if there are any. Survey the availability of services nearby. Make sure you are near a good hospital, schools etc. Shopping options, especially if you have special needs, are also very important. Talk to some of the neighbours, find out how the neighbourhood is changing and how friendly everyone is. Ask about the people who lived there before you. If you get a bad sign, then you may want to reconsider your purchase.
4. Factor in the price for repair or renovations.
Leave some money out for repairs and renovations. You may have been sold the house as perfect, but you will soon find problems that need to be remedied. It is important to get an inspector out to the house before you buy it and get him to check for mould, mildew and penetrating damp. Calculate how much the repairs will cost and factor that into your budget when buying the house. Some problems require taking down walls and rebuilding them and this can really hurt your budget. Do not get involved in major repaid jobs that will clean out your bank account, even if you absolutely love the house.
James is an aspirational interior designer and decoartor who has recetly taken to blogging about his experiences.