Buying a new home can make or break your financial future. Before you take the big leap, it helps to ask some very important questions.
- Can I afford it?
- Does the home need a major renovation?
- Do the furnishings come with the home?
- What is the neighborhood like?
- Why is the house for sale?
- Do I have a local real estate agent?
The fundamental question is, of course, whether you can afford the planned and unforeseen expenses if you buy a house. Taking on a mortgage is a hefty financial proposition, so consider if you can afford the monthly payments or just how much house you can afford. Also consider the down payment. Have you saved enough to make the 20% down payment on a home that’s within your price range? Also, plan the other costs of owning a home, such as maintenance, insurance, and utilities, and save up for emergencies.
An older home is more likely to have hidden problems (structural, electrical, weatherproofing, etc.) than a new one. Also, expect repairs due to wear and tear. These can add up to a small fortune in renovation and repairs. Are you willing to risk owning a fixer upper at a lower price or would you rather pay more for a move-in ready home?
Check what’s included with the purchase. Are you moving into an unfurnished home or does it come with everything you saw at the house tour? If you’re buying an empty house, make a mental note of how much you’ll be spending to make the house livable. If you’re looking at a townhouse, condo, or multi-unit residence, what amenities and privileges come with the purchase?
The neighborhood is just as important as the property is. How safe is the area? Are there good schools? Are there ongoing or planned developments that might impact the value of the house? What’s the local economy like? Are there any environmental concerns you should be looking out for, such as flooding or earthquakes, and will you need additional insurance to cover these risks?
If you want to know why the house is for sale or how long it’s been on the market, the answers might ferret out hidden issues or allow you to negotiate a better price. Knowing why the seller wants to sell can clue you in to things like neighborhood safety or location risks. Or, if the seller is in a hurry, they might accept a lower offer.
A house listing that’s been on the market far longer than what’s typical in the neighborhood can be a red flag. Is the price too high? If so, this is something you can bargain down.
Being represented by a knowledgeable real estate agent can take a load off the process. An expert agent knows the market and local conditions, helping you zero in on properties that fit your parameters. An agent can also head off problems and anticipate complications, as well as point out issues with a home or property that you might not have realized. A good real estate agent can help make sure that you find the perfect home rather than a money pit that will need an eternity of cash and renovations.
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate has a team of expert real estate agents intimately familiar with Washington’s Wenatchee, Leavenworth, and Cashmere areas. We’ll help you find the right house or property to fit your budget and needs. Call 509.888.8887 or email info(at)cbcascade(dotted)com for more information on how we can help you find your first or next home.