What to consider before buying a house

Buying a house is a major investment. It  can also be a difficult and anxiety-inducing experience. You might spend weeks or months searching for the perfect home for your family and pets to enjoy, but before you find the right one, there are some things you need to consider beforehand.

The major consideration is affordability, which can be calculated with a financial calculator online or by using spreadsheets to add up income and expenses. Outlined below are the other considerations you need to take into account before making the plunge and buying a house.

Location, location, location

The location of the property is your primary consideration. Home is, after all, where the heart is, and if your heart isn’t in the location then the house may not be the right choice for you. Your price range may determine the location of your house searching, but there are other factors to take into account to.

You may prefer to live closer to work, especially if your current situation gives you a long commute. Young professionals may prefer an urban setting with an exciting night-life in the area, while an older working couple might prefer a quieter setting. If you have a family, you will need to find out where the nearest schools and parks are and you should also factor in where your family and friends are situated in relation to the house.

Narrow down the neighbourhoods

Once you have decided on the general location of where to start searching for your house, you will need to decide on at least three neighbourhoods to look in. Look online for statistics and details about the neighbourhoods you like, such as crime rates and the schools that are nearby.

You will find information online such as education, the employment rates, where the fire and emergency departments are and what the planning and zoning laws are for the particular neighbourhood. Finding the right neighbourhood is just as important as finding the right house, possibly even more so for those who have young families and pets.

Buy for the long-term

Buying a house is a major investment, so there is no point in buying one if you do not plan to live there for at least five years. This is because property is not a good short-term investment as houses take over three to five years to appreciate in value, making a sale after only two years a loss to your finances.

You do not have to choose the house you grow old in yet, but it is a good idea to look for a house that you are willing and able to live in for at least five to seven years. Buying for the long term will save you money over the years and will enable you to properly settle in your house before you feel the need to move again. You may even feel so comfortable that your starter home becomes your only home (but do not settle in a small home if you plan on starting a family).

Consider your needs carefully

Your needs are important to consider when looking at buying a home. Do you have a large family that needs the extra space? Do you have pets that need a wide open space to run around in on a daily basis? Answering these questions can help you to make a decision on a house.

Your home is your castle, it is where you will entertain friends, where you and your family will sleep and where you will spend the majority of your time both day and night. This is why you will need to find one that both suits your needs and your budget. Why settle for something small when you know you will need the extra space in two to three years? Much as you would use a car payment calculator, use a financial calculator to find out what you can afford to pay monthly to find a house to suit your needs.  

Use your head, not your heart

The old cliche is that you ‘fall in love’ with a house, but it is better to use your head rather than your heart. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal, there may be another or even a better one on the horizon.

It is important to remember that buying a home is a financial transaction so do not let the real estate agent sway you into buying a house that you do not believe is right for you. Using your heart while house hunting might mean that you look at everything through rose-tinted glasses, and disregard the negative aspects of it. If you look at the house with a practical eye and note all the repairs that may need to be made, as well as what the neighbourhood is like at all times of the day, you will be able to make a much more sound financial decision.