It’s interesting that when you start shopping to buy a new house, at the same time, you have to think about selling it. While that does take a lot of the fun out of the process, it is an important step to not miss when buying a house. While you don’t plan on selling a house when you buy it, many things can come in life that may cause you to have to sell your house, even if you don’t want to. Therefore, you must be smart when you buy to be sure that you won’t lose a lot of money down the line. So, think about that moment. Envision yourself in your home and finding out you have to sell it. What is the school district like? Is the street a quiet one, or busy? Are there any community amenities nearby, like a shopping center, or a neighborhood park? Talk to your realtor about if she thinks you’ll lose money later on if you decide to sell. Be sure you aren’t overpaying on a house just because you “have to have it.” You don’t. Find something that you love, that you will also be able to sell for around what you paid.
Now is also the time to remove emotions from the table before you look at a house. Write down your non-negotiables. An example of these could be the kitchen. If you’re an avid and skilled cooker, chances are that you’re going to want the best appliances. If you work at home, you’ll likely need an office. Maybe you love to paint, so you need a studio area. Most buyers don’t make this list, and what tends to happen to them, is that they end up in a home that has none of their needs. They based it on emotion, because they fell in love with the location, or a walk-in closet, while ignoring their actual needs from a home.
Be sure to factor in expenses when you are budgeting for the house. You’ll have to pay for water, electric/gas, trash pickup, city sanitation fees, cable and wifi, plus many other bills. These are not small monthly costs, and depending on the size and age of your house, they may cost much more money than you think. If you can’t afford to spend $1,000 per month in energy bills, you’re better off buying a new construction, for example. This is why it is important to budget and figure out what your’e able to spend each month in those, and other areas.
If you ever have to move short-term (maybe about two years), but will eventually be coming back, it may make sense to rent out your home. However, you’re going to have to ask for an HOA contract. Some types of areas have restrictions on whether or not you can rent out your house. You might want to look into this before you purchase the house if you know there will be times where you will have to temporarily relocate for work. Be sure to read the contract thoroughly.
You must also be sure to read the actual purchase contract of the house. Never sign documents you haven’t read through, especially when it comes to buying a house. More than likely, you will need to ask your realtor and/or a real estate attorney to answer your questions. You should spend a few hours reading over every clause. Chances are there is something in there you won’t agree with that you might want to request to add on or leave out. Don’t be afraid of sounding dumb. Real estate is a profession, so all of the terms and lingo are not common knowledge.
Learn about the prospective neighborhood! You might want to be cautious about buying a house in an area surrounded by rental homes. You never know who could move in next. You may not want to live near the 21 year old college student who has people over every night, to where you can’t find a spot to park.
Always, always be sure to ignore the staging of a home when you view it. This can be hard to do, and that is actually the point. Designers are sneaky; they get paid to make a space look nicer than it actually is. They are also able to use furniture in certain spots to cover up any damages. For example, they can put a beautiful chair against the wall to cover up marker drawings that the owners child decided would be a great addition to the living room. Focus on the actual house, not the furniture in it. Take a lot of photos when you view the home, that way when you go back to your house, you can look around at your furniture and imagine where you’d put yours in the home, and think about how it would look. Then you can get a better idea of what the house will look like with your things, instead of the staged items.