What to Look for When Buying a Home

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make during your lifetime. In order to ensure that you make a wise decision, it’s essential to know what to look for before you begin your search. 


You should never buy a home based on projected earnings. A home should consume no more than 30% of your net income. Factoring in all the added costs, including property and school taxes, insurance, maintenance, and monthly utility bills, will allow you to live a comfortable life. 

Stay Within Your Price Range

It’s exciting to see beautiful homes listed well above your price range. They have all the amenities you dream of. However, once you visit a few of these homes, it’s hard to become grounded, and any home after that simply doesn’t compare. Instead, make appointments to see only the ones well within your price range. They may need a little cosmetic work such as new hardwood floors and a fresh coat of paint. That way, your expectations won’t exceed your wallet. 

Old or New

There are advantages and disadvantages to buying either a new home or an old one. A recently built home doesn’t usually require any work ahead of the move. Unless you want custom finishes, however, it often comes with a much higher price tag. 

An older home may provide a lower monthly mortgage payment, but it could need some work that requires additional finances. If you are handy and know people in construction, a sheet metal company Santa Rosa or whatever city you are in can provide the supplies to make necessary repairs to less. If you can barely swing a hammer, a move-in ready home may provide a better fit. 

Location is Everything

You may find a home at a reasonable price but it’s located in a bad neighborhood or out in the boonies. If you have children, that can cause problems in the future. You want a home that’s convenient to parks, shopping, and recreation. 

You also want to make your work commute as short as possible. If you enjoy your privacy or want to own land, a place on the outskirts of town may be of interest. Know your preferences ahead of your search. 

Hire a Realtor

There are many things to consider when selecting a home. Having someone at your side with experience in the home buying process benefits you in several ways. A Realtor can visit a home you choose prior to you to see if it’s worth the money. 

You can give your Realtor a list of things you want and some things you would like and let them conduct the search. They know the area and if the pricing is in line with the neighborhood. They can also negotiate a lower price if something in the home needs attention. If several offers come in on a home you desire, they can advise what to counter-offer or whether to walk away. 

Improve Your Credit Score

Acquiring a copy of your credit score before starting the process of buying a home will give you a heads up to your credit rating. If your score is lower than expected, now’s the time to take the steps to increase it

A good credit score will allow you to get the lowest mortgage rates with the best financial institutions. This can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your loan. 

The Required Down Payment

Today, there are many ways to get around the 20% down payment required by banks for a mortgage. FHA loans only require 3.5%, and many lenders will accept 5% or 10% down as long as your credit score is high. 

Unfortunately, if you put less than 20% down on a conventional mortgage, you will have PMI insurance added on to the monthly payment until you pay down the 20%. 

Buying a home is exciting. With a little knowledge and preparedness, you can find a home that provides the perfect fit for you.