What Questions Should I Ask Myself Before Buying My First Home?
Becoming a homeowner means new responsibilities and commitments, this means, buying your first home should never be taken lightly!
There are many frequently asked questions about buying a home in general, ranging from what is a home inspection to how long does it take to buy a home.
These types of questions are certainly important as they can help you understand general real estate terminology. They don’t however offer much clarity as to whether you should buy your first home or not.
Before buying your first home, you need to ask yourself some “soul searching” questions. Many of the questions to ask yourself before buying your first home might be difficult to answer and potentially can make you feel uncomfortable, however, doing so will greatly improve the chances that buying your first home now is the right decision.
In this article we’re going to cover 10 of the most important questions to ask yourself before buying your first home. Read on to find out the most important questions to ask yourself as a first time buyer, before starting the process!
Question #1: Why Do I Want To Purchase My First Home?
One of the first questions that you should ask yourself when buying your first home is actually pretty simple.
Why do I want to purchase my first home?
There are many reasons why people decide to purchase their first home. There are dozens of benefits of owning a home, a few of the most popular are the pride of ownership and because buying a home is a solid investment.
Regardless of the reason, it’s important to understand exactly why you want to purchase your first home.
If you’re grappling between the decision as to whether you should continue renting or to buy a home, asking yourself why you want to purchase a home for the first time can provide some clarity.
Question #2: Do I Have Money Saved For My First Home?
In most cases, buying a home will cost you some type of money. There are many costs of buying a house, including the down payment, taxes, homeowners insurance, and bank appraisal costs.
Due to the costs associated with buying a house, you need to ask yourself if you have money saved for the purchase. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to have tens of thousands of dollars saved to buy a home, which is one of the most common mortgage myths, however, you will likely need to have some money available for the purchase of your first home.
If you’re unsure how much you’ll need to purchase your first home, you should talk with a mortgage professional. This will help you understand exactly how much money you can expect to need on hand, which can go a long way in determining if you’re in a position to purchase a home for the first time.
If you’re not in a position currently to buy a home because you don’t have enough money saved, check out these fantastic tips for saving for a down payment to buy a house. By following these tips, you should be able to position yourself to purchase your first home in the near future.
Question #3: Can I Qualify For A Mortgage?
One of the first steps to buying a house is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Well, it doesn’t make any sense to go shopping for a new BMW if you cannot afford a $80,000 car, right? It’s the same theory with buying a home.
If you cannot qualify for a mortgage, it doesn’t make any sense to go look at homes. It’s not only a waste of your valuable time but it’s also a waste of time for the sellers homes you’re walking through as well as a real estate agents time.
There are many reasons why real estate agents ask for a mortgage pre-approval before showing houses to a buyer and this is often the most popular. As you’re considering the purchase of your first home, you need to ask yourself, can I qualify for a mortgage.
If you’re unable to qualify for a mortgage to buy your first home you need to understand why. There are many reasons why a prospective buyer cannot qualify for a mortgage including low credit scores, bankruptcies, late payments, or poor employment history.
If poor credit is the reason you’re unable to qualify for a mortgage currently, don’t throw in the towel. There are many ways to improve credit scores in order to buy a home in the future, but it does take some time and effort.
Question #4: Do I Qualify For Any First Time Home Buyer Programs Or Grants?
There aren’t many people who enjoy throwing money out the window, at least not to my knowledge. An important question to ask yourself before buying your first home is whether or not you qualify for any first time buyer programs or grants.
Depending on where you’re looking to buy your first home, there might be some great programs and grants available for first time buyers like yourself. For example, there are some killer first time home buyer programs in Rochester NY that provide closing cost assistance to local home buyers!
Before beginning the process of buying your first home, you need to ensure you’re not missing out on a first time buyer program or grant. You’ll be sorry when you find out after buying your home that you could’ve received assistance.
If you’re wondering what local programs or grants might be available in your area for first time buyers, it’s highly recommended you consult with an experienced buyers agent or mortgage professional.
Question #5: Where Do I Want To Buy My First Home?
Even though this will be the first home you purchase you’ve likely heard the saying “Location, Location, Location” when it comes to real estate. A very important question to ask yourself before buying a home for the first time is where you want to buy!
Choosing the right neighborhood to buy a home in should never be taken lightly. Asking yourself where you want to buy a home can help you determine whether you truly can afford to live where you want.
For example, if you’re interested in buying a home in a school district where the average home price is $250,000 but you’re only approved for a $150,000 mortgage, you may want to consider waiting until you can afford to buy a home in your desired area.
Question #6: Do I Understand The Process Of Buying My First Home?
Inspection phase, earnest money deposit, attorney approvals, bank appraisal, mortgage commitments…These are some of the steps that you’ll encounter throughout the process of buying your first home.
It’s extremely important that you understand the process of buying a home, before getting involved. If you don’t have any idea about the process of buying your first home, discussing with an experience real estate agent is a great way to educate yourself on the process.
If you’re not comfortable meeting one on one with a local Realtor, there’s a strong chance that there is a local organization in your area who offers free classes for first time home buyers. During these classes you’re going to learn about the best advice for first time home buyers.
In addition to helpful advice you’ll also likely hear from various professionals who you’ll encounter during your home purchase such as home inspectors, attorneys, and real estate agents.
Question #7: Am I Ready To Be A Homeowner?
As mentioned above, there are some amazing benefits of owning a home. While there are many benefits of owning a home, there are also responsibilities of being a homeowner, which is why it’s important that you ask yourself if you’re ready to be a homeowner.
Responsibilities such as upkeep, general maintenance, and unexpected repairs are things you have to keep in mind. Are you ready for these things?
One of the biggest mistakes made by first time home buyers is they neglect to remember new responsibilities and costs of being a homeowner. This often leads to them regretting their decision to buy their first home because they’d much rather spend their money going on luxurious vacations or going to the local pub every night.
Buying your first home doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be eating Ramen Noodle Soup every day, however, there is going to be new responsibilities and costs you’ll be faced with when owning a home.
Question #8: Where Will I Be In 5 Years?
Yes, I understand that there is no such thing as a crystal ball that can tell you where you’ll be in 5 years. BUT, before buying your first home you need to make an educated guess as to where you’ll be 5 years from now.
If you’re thinking about buying your first home and you’re thinking you’d like to move to a Caribbean island in the next couple years, you may want to strongly reconsider buying a home now.
It’s a great idea to have an idea where you’ll be in the coming years mainly because if you have to turn around and sell your first home in a year, you’ll have very little equity in the home, if any at all. This may result in you needing to come out of your pocket to cover the costs of selling your home which may not be possible depending on your financial situation.
Question #9: Can I Afford To Own A Home?
As we discussed above, owning a home comes with additional costs and responsibilities. There is a difference between the costs of buying a home and the costs of owning your home.
Many first time buyers forget to factor in costs of owning a home such as utility bills, refuse bills, and luxuries such as cable TV and internet. These buyers create their budget only factoring in their monthly mortgage which can be a huge mistake.
Not factoring in the costs of owning your home is one of the most common reasons for home buyers remorse. Avoiding home buyers remorse is very important and asking yourself if you can afford to own a home is one of the best tips for doing so!
Question #10: Do I Know Any Great Real Estate Agents?
Last, but absolutely not least, before buying your first home you need to ask yourself if you know any great real estate agents! There are many reasons to hire a real estate agent when buying a home, one of the most important being that they’ll be helping you through the process of buying your first home!
Too often do first time buyers take the process of selecting their agent lightly. This often results in frustration, confusion, stress, and sometimes an unsuccessful home buying experience.
If you don’t know any great real estate agents, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy your first home. If you educate yourself on how to interview real estate agents when buying a home, you’re going to greatly improve the chances you hire a rock star agent and not a DUD.
In addition to understanding how to interview prospective real estate agents, there are tons of websites and resources available that can help you research local agents. Checking reviews for prospective real estate agents on websites such as Facebook, Zillow, Yelp, and Google Plus can be a huge help!
If you find that an agent doesn’t have many reviews, you need to investigate further since in most cases a satisfied client is more than happy to provide a review on their home buying or selling experience.
Asking the above questions before buying your first home will go a long way! Since buying a home for the first time is such a big deal, it’s critical that you’re comfortable with your decision to buy a home. While some of the questions above may seem silly and others may seem difficult to answer, asking them will greatly increase the chance that you’re making the right decision to buy your first home.
Other Helpful First Time Home Buyer Resources
- 7 Helpful Tips For First-time Home Buyers via Bill Gassett
- Non-Negotiable List For First Time Home Buyers via Fred Franks
- First Time Home Buyers Guide To Homeowners Insurance via Luke Skar
- Encyclopedia For First Time Home Buyers via Listly
Buying a home in Rochester NY? If so, you need to ask yourself the above questions before buying your first home! The local Rochester real estate market is competitive and not being confident in your decision to buy a home can make the process of buying your first home frustrating and stressful. If you’re looking for a top real estate agent in Rochester NY, contact me and we can discuss your home buying needs.
About the authors: The above article “10 Critical Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying Your First Home” was written by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold Team at RE/MAX Realty Group. With over 35 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.
We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.
© 2017, Kyle Hiscock. All rights reserved.