Buying a house is one of the biggest financial commitments youll ever make. You arent just investing in a property, but a lifestyle and future.
Like any major decision, there are some considerations that need to be made before you put any money down. You may think youve found your dream home on first viewing, but there are some vital questions you need to ask yourself.
How long do I plan to live there?
This question will affect all future decisions you make surrounding the house. You need to know before you buy whether this is a temporary property or somewhere you want to settle. This isnt just a case of time spent in the house, but what youll want to do with it. Once you buy its not a case of leaving your rented property and moving your stuff to your parents if you want to go traveling all of a sudden.
Think about where you see your life and career going. Does owning a house fit in with your plans? Selling a house and buying a new one isnt a quick process, so make sure youre heading towards some long term stability.
Can I afford it?
Does your current financial situation lend itself to buying a house? If you dont have the finances you wont get very far, but you also shouldnt stretch yourself to buy a home for the sake of it. There are additional payments that come with buying. You dont want to spend every penny you have on an empty shell you cant afford to craft into a home.
Think about how youll be getting the money. Its likely going to come from two parties. Is that arrangement fair? If youre struggling for funds, mortgage brokers like Burrowly can help you find the best rates. Nobody said buying a house would be cheap, but getting someone to negotiate a deal based on your personal needs will help make the process more affordable.
Think about your current job situation. Are you under review or working in a precarious industry? Putting your savings into a new house might not be a sensible idea.
Is there scope to develop the house?
Its common to buy a house based on what it could become, rather than what it is right now. This can either be for your own benefit, or as something to flip for profit a few years down the line. Consider how the house youre viewing lines up. Does it fit the image you want to reach? Could it be developed into something more appealing in the current market?
Do I want to develop a house?
That being said, do you want to embark on that kind of project? Many of us fancy ourselves as fixer-uppers, but do you have the financial and logistical capabilities to actually improve the house without making it a terrible place to live in the meantime. There may be money to be made at the end of it, but is it worth the effort? If your budget doesnt match your ambition you may be committing yourself to somewhere that doesnt suit you.
Am I ready for the responsibility?
This is a question first-time buyers in particular need to ask themselves. Theres a huge difference between renting and owning your own home. All the responsibility with breakages is now on you. Theres no landlord or realtor at the end of the phone to help.
Consider whether you can handle the pressure of owning your own home and if youre in the life position to do it properly. No matter how many houses you buy they all come with their own unique responsibilities.
Does the area fit my requirements?
Where you live isnt just about the four walls surrounding you, its about the larger area and the community. Youre not just buying a house, but buying into the area. Think about how the area fits not only your current lifestyle but your plans for the future. How will it affect your social life or connection with your family? Look at how convenient transport links are to go visit people.
If children are in your long term plans think about the area as a place to grow up. The property itself might be great, but does the area have a big party scene that might clash with raising a child. Use services such as Great Schools to check schools in the area, making sure theyre good quality and within driving or walking distance.
How is the location developing?
The area may not be perfect now, but how will it develop in the next five years? If its on the up and going un-noticed you might just be onto a canny investment opportunity. However, if the area has been in decline and house prices stagnant, you could be buying into something in an area with a reputation you wont be able to make money on when you come to sell.
What can I compromise on?
Finding your dream home is a fantasy, its never going to be exactly what you expect. With that in mind, you need to consider what your dealbreakers are and what youre willing to compromise on.
How much of a difference does this make to what you want to achieve in the house? If the properties youre looking at are lacking in basic requirements for your needs, it might not be the right time to be looking.
Buying a house should never be a snap decision. These shouldnt be the questions that you consider while youre looking over a contract, they should guide your whole searching and viewing process.
About the author: Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel, trends and anything else that matters to you. Name throwing you off? Dont take it too seriously we intend to stand out from the crowd.