Buying a home isn’t a subject matter that you should take lightly. You’ve got to start thinking about where you plan to be long-term before you buy a house. Not just in terms of location, but lifestyle. Are you going to have children soon? Do you want children at all? Do you have a sick parent that may need to move in with you at some point? Do your children need to go to a specific school? All of these things are going to play in when it comes to what type of house you should buy it, as well as the location.
Many people buy homes based on emotion. This is something you should absolutely avoid doing. Don’t buy a house based on a closet, or because it is near one of your friends. Before you buy a house, create a list of all of the things you want, but more importantly, need in a home. Do you need a certain amount of closet space? Is it important that you have an extra bedroom for a nursery, or for guests? Will you need a home office? Is it important to you that you and your spouse have separate bathrooms, or are you fine with one? You should make a list of things you want, things you need, and things you’d love to have but would be O.K. if you didn’t. While this list won’t completely make you not ever veer off course in your search, it will serve as a reminder that you should keep on track in terms of buying what you need.
If you’re looking at a townhouse, or a community that has an HOA (Homeowner’s Association), make sure to read it in detail before you buy. You’ll also want to check out the neighborhood. You are always purchasing a neighborhood too, not just a house. Ask the seller for a copy of the HOA contract.
Never buy a house without reading the contract! If you don’t understand something in it, don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. In fact, you should be embarrassed with yourself if you don’t ask questions. If you read a contract and understand everything in it, you probably are missing something. Quick tip: never purchase a home for the view. Neighbhorhoods can always change. I know someone who bought a condo in Florida for the view. It was great for about ten years until a resort community was built right next door to it, and the view was obviously destroyed.
Another thing you’re going to have to learn to do if you want to buy a house is be able to ignore the staging.. Designers do this on purpose. They know how to place furniture and accessories to make the space look grander, and nicer than it is.
Last, but certainly not least, never buy a house unless you have the money to do so. You should have enough money in your savings, emergency, and checking account leftover even after buying the house. Don’t cash out all of your accounts to be able to buy a home. See: How to Look Past The Staging.