Home Searching Tips

Finding the right home to buy is not as easy as it seems. There are plenty of decisions to make far before ever beginning to look at homes for sale, and there are many factors that go into deciding to buy one home over another.  Here are some home searching tips to help narrow down and pinpoint the right type of home to buy and at the right price.

Figure out your budget
There is a little known and much less talked about the rule when it comes to mortgages. This rule called the “Rule of 28”.  The rule of 28 is what most lenders use to determine if a borrower is capable of paying for a mortgage.  Essentially the Rule of 28 states that a potential home buyer must be able to afford a payment that is 28 percent of their income.   So if someone makes $50,000 per year that is a maximum mortgage payment of $1,400 per month.  It helps to know which homes one can afford before looking at homes to buy.

Features
Most people already have this of home features narrowed down well before they ever have any hope of owning a home.  Most people also think this step is easy until they start looking for homes. As it turns out, finding the home with every feature desired that also fits into the allocated budget is a challenge.  Figure out what features are an absolute must have and which features are not necessary to help narrow down your choices further.

Location
One of the most important factors for buying a home is the location.  A lot of consideration goes into choosing where to buy a home.  Is the home close to schools?  Does the home have easy access to freeways?  Is there enough shopping nearby?  How difficult is the commute to work?  What is the crime pattern in the area?  These are all great questions to ask when considering buying a home in a particular area.  Do some research early on to figure out the best areas to begin a home search.

Type of home
Often an overlooked aspect of buying a home.  Most people think homeownership means buying a typical suburban home on a quaint and quiet street on the outskirts of the big city.  However, the idea of what it means to be a homeowner is changing in the ever-growing urban jungle.  Consider if a townhome or condo might be the right choice for an easier commute with a more urban lifestyle.

Examine HOAs
Some communities have Home Owners Associations or HOAs.  These HOAs can charge a monthly fee that can vary wildly depending on the HOA and what it provides to the community.  Some HOAs provide access to pools and private parks only available to those who live in the community.  However, some HOAs can be overbearing and over the top with quite frankly, ridiculous requirements for paint colors, fencing, and many other aspects of the maintenance and appearance of the homes in its purview.

Fixer-uppers
Most people prefer homes that are move-in ready, but sometimes a fixer-upper can provide a great deal and opportunity if the buyer is willing to put in a little elbow grease and money.  It is possible to get into a home that would otherwise be completely unaffordable if it were in tip-top shape.  Buying a fixer-upper can be a great way to get the most money back on the investment in a home, but they are not for everyone.

Before you start your home search look into a lease to own homes as well.  These homes allow the buyer to rent the home for a few years before they buy it.  These lease to own homes are a great way for potential buyers to get involved in the home buying process even earlier.