The Smart First-Time Home Buyer's Guide (2015)

Finding a Dream Home

 

 

Nearly everyone, at some point in his or her life, stumbles across the much-visited alley of ‘finding a dream home’. Everyone has his or her own idea of a perfect home; the flawless windows, the picture-perfect view, and the seamless little road leading up to the impeccable humble or not-so-humble abode.

We romanticize and fantasize about virtually the whole house, which we have been dreaming about all our lives, carefully conjuring up the idealistic fine points such as the particulars of the floors and the ceilings.

We, quite literally, break it down to every little detail – all rolled into a delectable little slice of real estate perfection.

 

Consider your priorities

 

Finding a perfect home becomes more than just being a desire, it crops up as everyone’s top priority, at least at some point in his or her life. Buying a perfect home is nothing short of an achievement. Everybody has a different idea regarding the most ideal home; once you buy a home, you want it to fit you and your family snugly like a glove – it has to be built just right, just for you.

The undeniable and the inevitable add-on of the emotional-element makes the purchase and the hunt for a home even more challenging and complicated out of all real estate purchases. If you are fortunate enough, you might get multiple chances to buy new homes. However, for most people, this is “once-in-a-lifetime” real estate purchase endeavor. The emotions peak, the budget is often constricted, and the dreams and the hopes regarding the future home skyrocket, this is all coupled with the inescapable wish to remain satisfied with the purchase in the long-standing future too.

 

The Inevitable Butterflies and the Jitters

 

It is quite an exciting and even a slightly unsettling position to be in – when you are looking to buy your own home. There are so many options to choose from and just about anything and everything matters and is quite close to your heart.

You set out, looking for the perfect home, with one determination in mind: It has to be perfect. And this where we come in because we have got your needs fully covered!

Some important tips, which you must keep in mind, when you are beginning the hunt for your house, include budget, size, style, location, rent/buy, and family. It may sound fairly easy and you might just try to tackle every aspect with a sure-fire response, however, it is not that simple. Everything comes, hand in hand, with mind-numbing intricacies and details and, before you know it, you will find yourself tripping on the niceties.

Therefore, it is very important to go into the house-hunt with a clear mind, knowing what to expect and how to deal with important issues first. The first and the foremost consideration, while looking for a perfect home, is budget – no questions asked.

 

Budget

 

This is the least fun dynamic of the entire home buying process and, therefore, we try to shove it back down to the depths, covering it up with more exciting details, like, choosing between the fancier wooden floors and the more deluxe interior design. It is a lot more stimulating to flit around between modernizations, upgrades, interiors, and aesthetics and color combinations.

However, the budget concern rears its calculative little head up soon enough once you have figured out all the dolled-up details of the house and the more delayed the budget issue gets, the more rapidly all your hopes and dreams get dashed to nothing. You have to get the numbers right before you build your dream home on a pile of virtual dreams. Some of the important costs that you have to consider, while deciding upon budget limitations and concerns, include the rent rates, mortgage rates, and cost of living in a particular area or location.

 

Do Not Over-Estimate

 

A good rule of thumb, when estimating the affordability of your perfect home, bases calculations on your lowest annual income. Do not stretch your budget to the farthest limits to fit your lofty ideals and wishes of a home. You must remember that aside from the monthly mortgage payments, there will also be other costs, including monthly utility costs, local taxes, and other society fees, associated with the area that you are living in.

 

Getting Down to Business

 

When you find your most preferred home, and decide to make an offer on any given property, which fits all your requirements and seems good enough, get in touch with the seller directly or through a reliable agent and get right down to business. This means that you should get down to the sand and grit of the financial aspects to get things into perspective before you finalize anything at all.

 

Do the Math

 

You need to get an accurate and exact breakdown of the monthly and yearly payments. Some monthly payments sound ‘just about right’.  However, once you calculate them on an annual basis, you often realize the true impact of the entire lump sum, which may seem affordable, when divided over a period of months.

You also need to keep in mind that your income will not rise dramatically in the future; the most dependable jobs, too, face the dangers of impending retirement, layoffs or any ill-starred incident and all these possibilities need to be accounted for and kept in mind when deciding upon a home. When buying a home, there are several options, which can be considered to suit your particular budgetary situation; you must choose that one house, which allows you to have a breathing space at the end of every month, budget-wise.

 

Rent Or Buy – The Million-Dollar Question

 

Other options include renting out a house, instead of buying it outright. Buying a home is not always the answer – this is extremely essential to fathom. There are several situations in which buying a house will not be ideal, especially if you might be moving soon in the near future, or you are just out of college and feeling good about yourself and have some misguided ideas about busting your entire budget on buying a house that you may or may not need forever after all. It is always a good idea to compare mortgage rates with rent rates and choose the one which suits you the most.

Sometimes renting might just make more sense, so prepare yourself to not get thrown off by the idea. Until and unless you plan to live in a house for at least a period of ten years or more, do not buy it; rent it out instead. This is important because it takes at least a period of ten years for you to break even; real estate property prices, especially when it comes to residential houses, rise about 3% to 4% every year. After at least a decade has passed and a subsequent increase in price and value of the house has occurred, only then you will be able to counterbalance the fees and the commissions, which you bore the brunt of, during the purchase of the house.

 

Rationalize - Do Not Speculate

 

However, financially speaking, if you consider waiting too long to see when the prices will fall, you will be doing yourself a disservice.

Often people are so caught up trying to wait for the low mortgage season to swing by that they forget that they will eventually be paying off the difference in the form of high interest rates anyway, so it really is just wasting time. It would make sense to wait around for the prices of something like gold to plummet because that is something we just desire, we do not really need it, so it would be okay to wait. Speculators would do that and that would make sense but equating speculation about a luxury as unnecessary as gold to a necessity as indispensable as homeownership is quite irrational. We must realize that nobody needs gold, whereas, everyone needs a place to live. Therefore, different rules apply. If you find a perfect home and the numbers add up, do not wait around for the mortgage rates to fall.

 

Home Style

 

The home style that you choose must be consistent with your personality; it should be the kind of home that you would feel satisfied with day-in and day-out. Your home is not a pit stop; it the place where you will come back at the end of every day and it should be ideal and perfect according to all aspects and nobody is a better judge of that than you are.

 

Personality Type

 

Home style refers to the style of living of the general, overall aesthetic of the home or the property. The way your home looks, the outer and the interior appearance is what makes 90% of the home; it is very important. If you have an outward, unrestricted personality, you would be better suited to a single home, which you can customize according to your specific needs and wants.

 

Condominium Style Living

 

Condominium style living is preferable for those who want a fine balance between single home living style,  in addition to hotel-style facilities; in condo-style living, you will get the best of both worlds. Other home styles include community style living, gated-communities and town living.

The outward appearance, the construction, and the architecture design of every home will differ based on where it is located, whether it is in a community, a town, or in a condominiums building. A modern, single-block condominium will differ greatly from a Victorian lodge.

 

Home Size

 

It is very important to come to terms with rationalizing when you are deciding upon the size of your house. Be realistic about how much space you really need. The number of people who will be living in a house and whether even a single person needs all that space can easily deduce the answer to the home size question. Whichever home style you choose, you must keep the size in mind too. If you buy a house, which is too small for your family, you will spend the rest of your life, constantly trying to make space for yourself and your family.

 

Space Considerations – Extremely Vital

 

You need to understand how much space you will require and how much space your family members will need. A wise decision in the start will prevent relocating problems in the future. As it goes, it is quite irrational to buy a large, sprawling house if you have a small family or a single person. You will only be tying up your money in useless concrete that you will probably never even use. Along with a lot of unused space, you will also be adding unnecessary maintenance costs to your budget. It is a good idea to compare the current space you are living in- are all your family members comfortable or do they have to share rooms to make space for each other? Current size is a good estimate of your needs.

 

Future Family Extensions Must Be Remembered

 

Newly married couples need to keep in mind the aspect of extending their family in the future so the additional space factor will be important to remember when deciding upon the size of the house. Preferably, you should reach a happy medium – you do not need to get caught up in too much space or get bogged down by too little.

 

Location

 

Your House Comes with Strings Attached

 

Always remember that your house does not exist in isolation. It will be surrounded by others and you need to decide whether it is suitable for you or not. Your house will exist along with other houses, forming a larger community. If you are the sort who enjoys peace and quiet, do not expect that kind of serenity from a bustling commercial housing zone. You need to decide what some of your needs are and whether these needs coincide with the location of the house that you have in mind.

 

Do Not Get Blinded

 

When looking at houses, we are often blinded by the sheer number of things that need to be considered, that we tend to forget the importance of the location. We begin looking at the house as a single entity and often exclude the reality of the surrounding location and the neighborhood. The house is only the tip of the iceberg; a great, big beautiful house is nothing if it exists in a run-down locality.

 

Neighborhood Considerations

 

What kind of neighbors do you have? Are you willing to put up neighborly noise? Are you okay with the idea of a long morning walk to the bus station? Are you used to running down to the nearest coffee shop to grab a cup of early morning Joe? Do you have all these facilities in the house that you are considering?

 

Drive Around and See For Yourself

 

Do not take somebody else’s word for this. These important questions need to be dealt with by you, and you alone. It is a good idea to test out the house and the locality that you are considering. Drive around and note the time it takes you to get to places like the bus station, the malls, the local grocery store, and the coffee shops. You need to see what the local nearby parks are like, and what exists at the end of the shiny new road that your house is built on. When considering the location of the house, it is advisable to take an in-depth tour of the nearby area, either by walking or driving around. Check out the local restaurants and see if you can visualize yourself living there easily or not.

 

Reminder: You Are Not Living In a Bubble

 

The location often gets pushed far back as an afterthought. Do not let this happen to you. Try not to see your house as an exclusive single piece of property. Remember when you are paying for the house, you are also paying a significant amount for the neighborhood and the location as well so it must be up to your standards. You must realize that this is something that you can do literally nothing about; if a house exists in a certain location, you cannot get up and demolish the entire area to suit your needs. You can break down and rebuild houses from scratch but locations? Not likely.

 

Do not be Afraid to Walk Away; There Will be others

 

When buying your perfect home, do not settle for anything less than what you have dreamed of, especially when it comes to location. If anything at all feels like a compromise, do not force yourself to do it.

 

Family

 

After everything has been seen, said and done, do not forget your family. It is very important to consider who you are going to be living with. Do not spearhead the house purchasing on your own, giving no regard to other people’s wishes and dreams. After all, a home’s true worth comes from a loving family living together. 

 

Family Discussion is The Key

 

Take in consideration what the others have to say about the house and what are they looking for. Not everyone views things from your perspective; so find a happy medium and a fine balance. Think about all the things that you wish to do in your home in the coming years. If you like to host parties then carefully consider the layout of the house. It should be spacious and comfortable enough to welcome your guests easily. .

Think about the activities of all the family members- are your children the sorts who lean towards sports or just basic recreational activities? Give a consideration to the outdoor space in addition to the interior of the house, like for example, finding a  house with a backyard, a swimming pool or a ground big enough to install nets, swings and enough room to play in.

 

Personal Space

 

Realize what kind of family you have; do all the family members require their own personal space? If yes, look for a house with plenty of room so everyone can get their own private space without interfering or causing too much trouble for anyone else. When buying a house, you have to keep everyone happy and that is the exact definition of a perfect home.

 

Put Your Heart and Soul in It

 

When all considerations and all factors have been decided upon and the all the numbers and the budget concerns add up and make sense, it is time to take the plunge. Understand that no matter how perfect the house might be, it will always need a fair amount of customization according to your very-own specific needs.

This is where you need to put your heart in the house to make it your perfect home.

Even the most perfect dream house is going to need a little bit of tweaking around here and there to make it resonate with the essence of you and your family. Even if you find all the features that you ever wanted in a house, from your eyes, there will always be room for improvement so make room for that in your mind, when settling upon a house. You will get a perfect 99%, at best, and to bring it up to a perfect 100%, you have to alter it according to your own needs and specifications.

Everyone deserves to find their perfect dream home and it is very much possible with the right kind of guidance and research backing up the entire process. By using these vital factors and guidelines, you can easily buy your perfect home, without stumbling across any hitches. These factors will help you to concentrate on the important elements and, most importantly, these elements will help you to prioritize in the right way. There is no reason that you should wait for your dream to turn into a reality.